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Abstract

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) is a temporary lifesaving treatment for critically ill patients suffering from severe respiratory and/or cardiac failure. Studies have demonstrated the feasibility of mobilization in ECMO patients within the hospital during their bridge to recovery or transplantation. Ambulatory ECMO is a comprehensive form of mobilization aimed at preventing neuromuscular weakness and impaired physical functioning during and after treatment.

Despite more compact and mobile ECMO devices, the implementation of ambulatory ECMO remains a labour-intensive, complex, and challenging operation. Ambulatory ECMO requires a large multidisciplinary team to carry all the equipment, to monitor and physically support the patient, and to provide a back-up wheelchair in case of patient fatigue. Additionally, current device configuration contributes to unnecessary device transport. Moreover, there is no adequate solution for ensuring the stability of the patient’s cannula and circuit management during ambulation.

We developed a system that contributes to the improvement and innovation of current ambulatory ECMO patient programs

and combines:

(1) A modular cart-in-cart system (A) consisting of two distinct carts - the stationary cart (B) and the ambulatory cart (C). The stationary cart carries the devices (e.g. heater-cooler) not required during ambulation and remains in the ICU next to the patient’s bed. The ambulatory cart carries all the necessary devices during ambulation and features an extendable walking frame (D) that ensures safe walking support for the patient. A foldable seat (E) allows the patient to sit and facilitates transport back to the ICU in case of patient fatigue. Additionally, a safety brake system prevents unintentional movement of the ambulatory cart. Devices on both carts can be (dis)connected through a multi-connector hub, enabling easy configuration of necessary fluids, gases, and electricity. The connection between the stationary and ambulatory cart is maintained by a foot pedal-controlled lift mechanism that prevents accidental disconnection of the multi-connector and enables transport of both carts simultaneously. The system also features a gas switching device that allows for convenient switching between wall-mounted gas and bottled gas.

(2) A universal-sized shoulder brace (F) with integrated blood tubing connector that can be adjusted to the patient via Velcro closure, facilitates secure fixation of the blood tubing, and minimizes strain on the cannula.

At the time of writing, the project is undergoing design optimization. Subsequently, a physical prototype will be constructed and subjected to verification and validation processes. Internal testing will be performed to assess compliance with the user requirements. The prototype will then be evaluated in a simulated ICU environment to determine its suitability for use in a clinical setting. The patent for this invention has been filed and is currently pending.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-148
JournalASAIO Journal
Volume69
Issue numberSupplement 2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023

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