|Researcher Develops Implantable Artificial LungAs reported today in Reuters, a University of Pittsburgh researcher, Dr. Brack Hattler, said on Thursday he had developed an artificial lung that could be implanted temporarily in people with emphysema or other severe respiratory problems to take some of the breathing load off their lungs. |
The implant can provide about half the oxygen an adult body needs and was designed to be implanted for as long as two weeks. Up to 750,000 patients in the United States each year could use this device, including emphysema patients who need breathing assistance while recovering from colds and other complications.
Clinical trials are to start in Europe next year and he hopes to have the device approved for use in the United States by the end of 2003. The majority of his funding came from the Defense Department and was prompted by concerns in the U.S. military about chemical weapons in the wake of the Gulf War.
Hattler claims the device was more effective than a respirator and had fewer medical complications and was less expensive than a standard oxygenator, which requires blood to be pumped outside the body. The device, about 18 inches long, is inserted through the major vein in the leg.
It consists of hollow fiber membranes that introduce oxygen into the blood and remove carbon dioxide. The oxygen source sits outside the body and is attached to the catheter by tubes.
Could this be the next way to cheat in competitive race? Time will tell if the device catches on.www.reuters.com
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