HemoSep, a surgical blood salvage technology developed at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, and licensed to Advancis Surgical, has been touted by its developers as offering the potential to transform the way major surgery is carried out by reducing blood loss in patients. The device has gained the CE mark and Canadian national approval following clinical trials at the University of Kirikkale University Hospital in Ankara, Turkey.
The device consists of a blood bag, which employs a chemical sponge technology and a mechanical agitator to concentrate blood sucked from the surgical site or drained from the heart-lung machine after the surgery. The separated cells are then returned to the patient by intravenous transfusion. Professor Terry Gourlay, who led the development of the technology at the University's Department of Biomedical Engineering, believes the introduction of HemoSep will make a significant difference to people's lives and greatly reduce the cost and risks associated with blood transfusions. The technology is said to have distinct advantages over traditional techniques which are costly, technically challenging and involve the use of a complex centrifuge and pumping apparatus.
In the clinical trials, carried out in over 100 open-heart surgery operations, the use of the HemoSep device significantly reduced the need for blood transfusions together with preservation of normal clotting mechanisms and a reduction in the inflammatory reaction often encountered after such surgical procedures. Results of the clinical trials will be presented at the European Society for Artificial Organs congress in Rostock, Germany, in September to correspond with Advancis' commercial launch of the device. Further trials are planned for the future.
Gourlay expects further developments in the form of a derivative of this technology for use in children undergoing open-heart surgery where the challenges of blood conservation are even more critical. The technology could also be useful for blood preservation during transplantation, orthopaedics and neurosurgery.