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Hemodialysis is a lifesaving treatment that requires the availability of a vascular access site in each patient. The preferred type of site for hemodialysis patients is an arteriovenous fistula (AVF), due to improved patient survival, reduced complications and hospitalization rates, and large reductions in the cost of care, when compared with other forms of access.  However, nearly half of U.S. hemodialysis patients do not currently use an AVF for vascular access, mostly due to inadequate vein diameter and high rates of AVF failure.

Flow Forward Medical, Inc. is small medical device company developing a product called the AFE System, which dilates a kidney failure patient's veins to make it easier to connect them to hemodialysis equipment.

Flow Forward’s Arteriovenous Fistula Eligibility (AFE) System is a small, temporary, minimally-invasive rotary pump designed to rapidly dilate peripheral veins through flow-mediated dilation prior to AVF surgery.  Use of the AFE System could increase patient eligibility for AVF and improve success rates after AVF surgery.  In a recent presentation at the American Society of Nephrology annual meeting, Flow Forward reported results of a pilot nonclinical study showing 20X faster vein dilation and a dramatic reduction in vascular scar tissue formation during vein maturation, when compared with traditional AVF creation.

“Using the AFE System prior to AVF surgery could enable creation of high quality AVFs through preconditioning and maturation of veins in as little as 10 - 14 days, including in patients previously thought to be ineligible for an AVF,” said Nicholas Franano, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Flow Forward.

“This represents real innovation,” said Tom Krol, KBA Managing Director, “with the potential to deliver important patient benefits that would not have previously been thought possible.” “Successful development and commercialization of the AFE System could begin to alleviate some of the enormous burden that vascular access failure places on patients, health care providers, and payers”, said Krol, “and that makes this both an important goal and an attractive investment for KBA.”