At the Medical Devices Lab, Artificial Lungs are Getting Better

Image: By Abby Tabor | Science Writer at NASA's Ames Research Center

After the Hemolung Respiratory Assist System, commercialized by ALung Technologies, scientists at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine (MIRM) have published new work that will lead to further improvements in artificial lungs. The process used is able to remove twice as much carbon dioxide from the blood, compared to other methods.

Systems like these assist patients with lung failure, giving their ailing lungs a chance to heal. The patient’s blood is passed over a membrane that is capable of drawing the carbon dioxide out of it and infusing it with the oxygen the body needs. Effective systems are already in use today, but there is a need for higher performing and less invasive methods for respiratory support.

The innovative process developed in the Medical Devices Laboratory at MIRM, led by Dr. William Federspiel, Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, relies on the combined force of two biochemical approaches (published here and here). It is their synergistic action to remove carbon dioxide from the blood that makes it possible to double the rate currently achieved. This advance offers hope for the millions of patients with lung failure, either chronic or acute, who may be sustained by the artificial lung technology while waiting for a lung transplant.

Sources: 
New Publications Show Promise of Improved Artificial Lung Devices
From Bench to Bedside: Technology Developed by McGowan Faculty Used in Clinical Setting


Explore the many groundbreaking projects underway at the Medical Devices Laboratory.

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