Surgeons at the University of Kentucky used a novel dual lumen veno-venous extracorporeal catheter as a bridge to lung transplantation in a patient with a severe pulmonary lung disease. The device was invented by two university faculty members, Dr. Joseph Zwischenberger and Dr. Dongfang Wang.
With current techniques, a patient is sedated while using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Consequently, the patient is bedridden, which causes the muscles to become increasingly weak. However, the bi-caval double lumen catheter, manufactured by Avalon Laboratories (Rancho Dominguez, CA), is an advanced form of ECMO, also known as “ambulatory artificial lungs.”
The bi-caval double lumen catheter is a radiopaque, kink resistant veno-venous device that enables extracorporeal life support. Inserted into the internal jugular vein, this device is able to match the body’s natural flow ratios by simultaneously removing blood from both the superior and inferior vena cava and returning oxygenated blood towards the right atrium.
Dr. Charles Hoopes, University of Kentucky HealthCare’s new director of the Heart and Lung Transplant Program, performed surgery on a patient to allow the use of this artificial lung and double lumen catheter:
“The goal of artificial lung technology in patients like Mr. Gillispie is to demonstrate that lung transplantation will be effective therapy. If by replacing the lungs with an artificial membrane allows a patient to exercise and function normally, then lung transplantation will benefit the patient and dramatically improve their quality of life. If a patient cannot exercise after their breathing is ‘replaced’ with an artificial lung, then transplant will provide little clinical benefit”
The device helps patients get oxygen into their blood by transporting blood to a gas exchanger that removes carbon dioxide and oxygenates the blood before returning it to the heart, bypassing the lungs of the patient. It is meant for those who are too weak to be maintained on a ventilator and is designed as a temporary treatment for severe respiratory failure. Artificial lung technology allows us to be certain that the patient potentially receiving the organ transplantation is physically well enough to undergo the surgery and recovery.
According to a University of Kentucky statement, after only three days using the artificial lung, the patient underwent a successful double-lung transplant surgery.
Product info sheet: Elite bi-caval double lumen catheter… (.pdf)
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