Respiratory Assistance (Lung)
The McGowan Institute is working on several devices that oxygenate blood before it arrives in the lungs. While mechanical ventilators can assist patients with breathing for short periods of time, they sometimes cause lung damage. In addition, they're not particularly portable.
One version, the Hattler Catheter®, is inserted into a major artery. The Hattler Catheter® has been licensed to the Pittsburgh firm ALung Technologies and is being readied for clinical research studies. It is designed to give a patient's lungs a rest so they can heal from injury or infection. Another version, the respiratory assist lung, is worn outside the body, where it passes blood across gas exchange fibers. The respiratory assist lung is intended for critical care emergencies, such as in the treatment of traumas and battlefield wounds.