Development of a Paracorporeal Pump-Integrated Artificial Lung for Transport of Warfighters with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

Grants and Contracts Details


Acute lung injury significantly contributes to combat casualty. Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a serious form of acute lung injury with high mortality that requires comprehensive treatment in a regional medical center. Extracorporeal lung support is highly desired for transfer of ARDS warfighters from combat theaters to regional medical centers. Two lung support systems, an extracorporeal pumpless interventional lung assist (iLA) and a venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (vv ECMO), were used in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Unfortunately, these two systems had major problems, preventing widespread application. The iLA system supplied only partial lung support (CO2 removal but negligible oxygenation) and required a dangerous major artery cannulation. The vv ECMO system was bulky and complicated with a blood pump, an artificial lung (AL), and their individual control systems. Consequently, the vv ECMO system required remote positioning of the pump and AL from the ARDS warfighter with very long connection tubing. For military transport of ARDS warfighters, this long connection tubing was especially dangerous with negative impact due to: 1) the risk of tubing disconnection with massive bleeding, 2) the potential for tubing kinking with vv ECMO dysfunction, 3) the high circuit blood resistance with compromised vv ECMO performance and additional blood trauma, and 4) the large blood foreign surface contact area with increased biocompatibility issues. Thus, there is a critical need for a simpler ECMO system without the dangerously long blood tubing connection for more practical, easier, and safer transport of ARDS warfighters. Our ultimate goal is to develop a simple lung support system with no need of long blood tubing connection for the safe warfighter transfer from combat theaters to regional medical centers. The enabling technology is our patented paracorporeal pump-integrated artificial lung (pPIAL). Our objective is to design one device (pPIAL) to replace separate AL and bulky pump. This one piece compact pPIAL allows direct attachment to patient body (paracorporeal/wearable), eliminating the long tubing connection.
Effective start/end date8/15/197/31/24


  • Army Medical Research and Materiel Command: $3,906,819.00


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