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Artificial lung mimics real organ's design and efficiency
Date:7/25/2011

serve University School of Medicine, joined the team and helped develop the prototype during the past two years.

The researchers first built a mould with miniature features and then layered on a liquid silicone rubber that solidified into artificial capillaries and alveoli, and separated the air and blood channels with a gas diffusion membrane.

By making the parts on the same scale as the natural lung, the team was able to create a very large surface-area-to-volume ratio and shrink the distances for gas diffusion compared to the current state of the art. Tests using pig blood show oxygen exchange efficiency is three to five times better, which enables them to use plain air instead of pure oxygen as the ventilating gas.

Potkay's team is now collaborating with researchers from Case Western Reserve's departments of biomedical engineering and chemical engineering to develop a coating to prevent clogging in the narrow artificial capillaries and on construction techniques needed to build a durable artificial lung large enough to test in rodent models of lung disease.

Within a decade, the group expects to have human-scale artificial lungs in use in clinical trials.

They envision patients would tap into the devices while allowing their own diseased lungs to heal, or maybe implant one as a bridge while awaiting a lung transplant a wait that lasts, on average, more than a year.


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Contact: Kevin Mayhood
kevin.mayhood@case.edu
216-368-4442
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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