ConnexAL

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Kristin Hugenroth

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+49 241 80 47058

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Background

Lung support systems replace the lung function of patients with critical lung disease. Blood is pumped through an artificial lung, which performs the gas exchange for the failing lung outside of human body. Especially for the highly fragile patients this procedure poses a considerable risk. Furthermore, current connection options for the artificial lung to the human blood circulation impair the mobility of the patient significantly. This factor has a strong negative impact on the quality of life of the patient and compromises the healing process.

Aim

The objective of the project is to develop and evaluate new connection techniques for the artificial lung, which are performed in a less invasive way and at the same time allow for a better mobility for the patient after the surgery. It is aimed for a minimally invasive technique, which means that the surgery is performed only through small incisions causing minimal trauma. This reduces the risk for critically ill patients and has a positive impact on the healing process. Additionally, the connection technique needs to be applicable to vessels with sufficient blood flow, in order to allow a full support by the artificial lung. Particularly with regard to this criteria, a central access in proximity to the heart seems favorable, which puts the central vessels into focus in this project.

Methods

Vessels, which fulfill the criteria mentioned above, are identified in close cooperation with clinical partners. The preselection process is supported by numerical simulations. In the course of the project, the connection device as well as the interventional tool for the minimally invasive surgery are developed. Numerical simulations as well as experimental tests facilitate the iterative development process. The final validation is carried out through animal testing.

Funding Funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) – Project number 347325614

This project is part of the SPP 2014: Towards an Implantable Lung (P roject number 313779459) . Aim of the SPP is to enable research to support the development of long-term implantable lung assist systems.