MoBox - Sweep gas supply for wearable artificial lungs



Sebastian Jansen

Chief Engineer Therapies & Applications, Dept. Head of Dept. CVE


+49 241 80 47068




In addition to routine use in cardiac surgery, the use of artificial lungs, so-called membrane oxygenators, has also established itself in chronic lung diseases. As a result of improved blood compatibility and stability of the oxygenators, prolonged waiting times for lung transplants can be bridged. In this currently intensive care treatment, the mobilization of patients is an essential goal of research: Using compact and portable systems, quality of life outside the hospital bed - such as self-determined movement, independent food intake and social interaction - can be regained.

The oxygen supply of the oxygenator is an elementary component of the periphery of an artificial lung. While stationary treatments are supplied with oxygen by centralized reservoirs, the weight and volume of the gas cylinders in ambulatory systems restrict mobility. A compact and independently refillable gas supply must be guaranteed, especially for the long-term goal - ambulantory lung support in the patient's own home. In addition, the oxygen demand and carbon dioxide production of a mobile patient can vary massively depending on physical activity. Accordingly, a mobile oxygen supply must be able to react independently to changes in the partial pressures of the blood in order to ensure the most effective oxygenation and carbon dioxide removal possible.


A central goal of current research on extracorporeal lung support is the dimensioning of the periphery, which allows the patient additional independence and an increased quality of life in chronic lung disease.

The oxygen supply by means of conventional gas cylinders is still the most bulky component of this periphery, while the miniaturization of oxygenators and blood pumps has long since moved into the focus of leading manufacturers. The aim of the project is to close this gap: Against the background of the wearable artificial lung, a liquid reservoir is to be realized as a compact oxygen supply. Embedded in an extracorporeal lung circuit, the reservoir should be able to regulate the oxygen supply in relation to the oxygen and carbon dioxide saturation in the patient's blood. In this way, the compressed oxygen can be used as effectively as possible.

Funding This research project is supported by the “START-program” of the Medicine Faculty of the RWTH Aachen.