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Published on August 28th, 2015 | by News Stories

Anya Pogharian, Age 17: Developed a Revolutionary, Low-Cost Dialysis Machine

(CTV News) – What started off as a science project may have a revolutionary impact for dialysis patients.

Montreal teenager Anya Pogharian has received international attention for a portable dialysis machine she created for a local science fair.

“I wanted to mimic the exact same circuit as a dialysis machine because I’m trying to see if the cost can be reduced while maintaining the functionality,” explained the teen inventor, who has spent well over 300 hours on the project, even though the science fair only required 10.

Inspired after a summer of volunteering at the Montreal General Hospital, the teen said she realized that a portable system could make a major difference.

Typically used by kidney disease patients, dialysis removes waste and excess water from the blood. It can be a time-consuming process.

“Dialysis normally takes hours in a hospital setting, several times a week,” she said, adding that a portable machine could help bring the treatment to those who need it abroad. “Like for example, 90 per cent of patients living in India and Pakistan who need the treatment to survive don’t have access to it. So, a lot of preventable deaths.”

She started researching the problem online and read owner’s manuals of dialysis machines to provide inspiration and insight into how to invent her own.

While dialysis machines currently cost about $30,000, her second prototype cost about $550 to build and is receiving international interest.

Hema-Quebec approached her with an idea to test it in their Quebec City lab. The results were impressive.

“We were expecting to run the system for 2.5 hours and after 25 minutes (the patient) was already in the zone where we wanted the level of potassium to be, so the system was quite efficient,” said Yves Blais, vice-president of research and development for Hema-Quebec.

They’ve invited Pogharian back to test her third prototype when it’s ready.

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Photo courtesy of Journal Metro.


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are about young people just like you who are defying low expectations, solving problems, doing good, and changing the world one hard thing at a time. To send us a story, email [email protected]

  • Sam G

    Fantastic to see that level of impact and dedication in the work of a fellow teenager. It seems the truth of the rebelutionary message is once again confirmed. :)

  • Haylie

    Woah… cool beans!!! So neat to see other teens using their talents and interests to help other people and do hard things!

  • Laini Russell

    Thats awesome! That would be revolutionary for the people with kidney disease! My dad is one of those and me and my sisters may have it. So glad people someone is working towards making things more efficient!

  • Hmm, I have to do a paper researching a teenager who did “hard things” as a school assignment (no joke – the book assigning the project actually used an excerpt from DHT). Maybe I could research this girl… :)

    • Nathan

      what book are you using? the one that assigned the project

      • It’s Summit’s Lightbearers Wordlview curriculum. I highly recommend it!

        • Nathan

          Hey… my sister is going through that for school! I should read it along with her!

          • Oops, I just saw this comment! It’s really great, and the videos they have on their website are awesome too!

          • Nathan

            Yeah? Well I’m going to ask my sister if i can borrow her book!

          • The assignment actually includes an excerpt from Do Hard Things!

          • Nathan

            Yeah you said that in your first comment! That’s why I wanted to read it… What was the excerpt about?

          • Grr, I’m sorry for repeating myself! It was about the origin of the word “teenager” and of the low expectations people have of teens. I’m sorry again for continuously repeating myself!

          • Nathan

            Oh, its just fine! I thought that part of DHT was interesting… I didn’t know that teenagers didn’t exist until that recently!

          • I know! It shows how much we’re willing to believe and the things we just accept as the norm, I guess.

          • Nathan

            Yep. Kinda sad, really. I mean, just look at how easy we go along with things in this world, the history of things being no different!

          • Definitely! That’s why it’s so vital for this generation to do hard things. :)

          • Nathan

            So how long ago did you read do hard things?

          • Hmm, about two or three years ago? I think I wasn’t quite at the point where I could fully appreciate it, being only about twelve or thirteen I guess. I’ve felt God’s pressing on my heart to do my part to change the tide of my generation lately, so going back and reading through DHT is a good motivator! What about you?

          • Nathan

            Probably about one year ago… but i didnt really do anything about it. I have also felt God tugging at me to do something about this generation recently…

          • Well, a really great friend and I just set up a blog trying to do our part to help this generation, if you want to check it out. :)

          • Nathan

            yeah i will check it out! Thanks!

        • Nathan

          And do you remember what unit the assignment was in? I want to see this assignment!

          • I believe it was Unit 7. I take it then that you do Lightbearers, too? :)

  • Amazing! That invention will have a great impact on so many people.

  • Kate

    Wow. Amazing. My grandma had kidney disease and we decided not to do dialysis and instead put her in hospice. Made me think of her:) Can’t wait to see how this machine will affect so many lives!

  • Danny

    Woohoo! Way to go!

  • MimeforJesus

    Wow… this is so cool.


    Wow!!!! Its just amazing to see what we, even as teenagers, can accomplish with determination and ultimately God’s help.

  • Feeling Bookish

    This is really inspiring to me. :)

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