The Glia Kidney-Cap Project

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Hemodialysis patients often connect to the dialysis machine via fistula, a permanent, surgically created connection between artery and vein in the patient’s arm. Sometimes, unexpected and uncontrolled bleeding occurs at the fistula site, which a hemodialysis patient must emergently manage until medical attention arrives.

The Glia Kidney-CAP helps patients avoid a medical emergency by “capping” the bleeding, secured in place with any strong medical tape, and gives the patient time to call medical response services.



Historically, patients have needed to carry with them a bottle cap or similar common household item to use to attempt to control the dangerous bleeding that may occur at that site of their fistula.  Glia’s objective was to develop a professional and effective low-cost device that can be manufactured en masse so all patients can acquire one to be kept close at hand to address this potential emergency.

Glia wanted this device to be not only commonplace and accessible to patients themselves, but to become part of related medical personnel’s arsenal of tools to address an arterial fistula bleed.  This would include clinicians working with dialysis patients, paramedics, and emergency responders, etc.

Additionally, the goal was to ensure that the device could be easily duplicated in low resource settings, at a price point low enough to make it accessible to those in low and middle-income regions internationally, where access to medical devices is limited.


Working with renal physicians from major Canadian renal programs, Glia developed the Kidney-CAP, the first of it’s kind.  The Glia Kidney-CAP is a 3D printed, open source, low cost, compact, easy to use, and effective device for dialysis patient care. It’s portable and accessible via the beaded lanyard, which can be attached to a keychain or other portable home-use device.

One of the major design intents was to ensure this device was simple to understand.  It needed to be easy to use outside of clinical use, by patients themselves in their day to day lives if an emergency bleed were to occur.  As such, Glia developed an easy-to-use device and to help patients remember how to use it we developed the mnemonic “F.A.S.T.”  This drives home the message that the patient must act fast as a bleed of this type is an emergency while making it easy to recall:

In the event that a hemodialysis fistula or graft bleeds, one must act FAST:

F   Find your Kidney-CAP on your keychain
A  Apply Kidney-CAP to your bleeding fistula or graft.
S  Secure the Kidney-CAP with tape.
T  Telephone 911


In order to ensure that costs were minimized, and retail prices remained affordable, the device was developed using only two main parts – the Kidney-CAP itself and ball-chain lanyard to attach the device to a keychain, purse/bad, belt loop, etc.  The Glia Kidney-CAP can be manufactured for a total materials cost of USD$1.50.  Accounting for all other associated production costs, Glia is able to offer the Kidney-CAP at a retail price of CAD$10.


Furthermore, In Canada it is produced by Glia as a Class I device. Glia manufactures the stethoscope in both Canada and Gaza under a Health Canada Medical Device Establishment License (License #6823) to produce Class 1 devices.

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