What would artificial lungs consist of?

Researchers develop artificial lungs

Air and movement - perhaps the most important prerequisites for a good, self-determined life. For many patients with COPD, however, just a few steps are a major challenge. There is hardly enough air left to walk to the door. Anyone who is also bound to a stationary ventilator (home ventilation) does not like to go far away.

Breathing aid for seriously ill COPD patients

A lung support system promises improvement - also called artificial lung - that a research group around Prof. Dr. med. Christian Karagiannidis, Senior Physician at the Lung Clinic Cologne Merheim, just developed. Artificial lungs are devices that take over the gas exchange for the lungs. They remove carbon dioxide from the blood and supply it with fresh oxygen.

The greatest advantage of an artificial lung over home ventilation: It is a portable device that patients carry with them directly on their body. "This is why permanent artificial lungs are a way to enable patients to lead a self-determined life", as stated in a press release from the University of Witte / Herdecke involved in the project.

So far, however, there is no such device that is suitable for long-term use. The existing systems are difficult to operate and, if used over a long period, are associated with health risks.

If the researchers have their way, that will soon change. The new system is intended to Significantly reduce risks and enable long-term use. "With this approach, patients should regain a high level of quality of life and self-determination." The ambitious project was recently chosen as one of ten so-called lighthouse projects. The selected projects receive substantial funding from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the European Union.

Background: home ventilation

With advanced COPD, the lungs reach their limits. Narrowed bronchi, exhausted breathing muscles, bloated alveoli - all of this can mean that the lungs can no longer do their job on their own. After acute lung failure and intensive medical treatment, those affected are therefore often dependent on constant lung support - so-called home ventilation. With the help of a ventilator, the patient is supplied with breathing air by means of a mechanically generated positive or negative pressure. This inpatient ventilation therapy has the disadvantage that it ties the patient to the bed, so to speak, and cannot provide support during stressful situations.

The non-invasive ventilation therapy

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