Dr. M. Kennedy Hall, assistant professor of emergency medicine, along with a clinical research team that includes the Department of Urology, Department of Radiology, and the UW Applied Physics Laboratory, had their innovative non-invasive kidney stone propulsion procedure featured on UW Today, “Keeping Kidney Stones at Bay During Space Flight.”
This new technology has been coined the flexible ultrasound system, or FUS, and is a hand operated device that repositions obstructed kidney stones using longer ultra sound bursts to physically move the stone.
“Our hope is that we will be able to move stones back into patients’ kidneys … relieve (patient) suffering … and potentially avoid emergent urologic intervention.” -Dr. Kennedy Hall
This new procedure will be tested on local patients at Harborview and UW Medical Center and is funded by NASA. While 1 in 11 Americans suffer from kidney stones in their lifetime, it’s more frequent for astronauts in space due to their increased risk from microgravity, dehydration, and altered bone metabolism. For them, this option could be lifesaving and thwart the need to abort space missions due to an emergent kidney stone obstruction.