Portable machine to help swine flu victims developed

A portable version of a life-saving machine that has been used to treat seriously ill swine flu victims is being developed, scientists revealed today

Bioengineers from Strathclyde University are working with doctors in Glasgow to develop a device that could be used to deliver extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) treatment.

The team is now looking for research funding to help take forward the work - which aims to come up with a new system which could be used to deliver ECMO in any intensive care unit.

ECMO treatment involves circulating the patient's blood outside the body and adding oxygen to it artificially.

The machine is used when a person's lungs are functioning very poorly, as the treatment allows the supply of oxygen to the body to be maintained while resting the lungs.

It is thought this highly specialist treatment saves one extra life for every six patients, when compared with conventional treatment for those who are critically ill.

But there is only one centre in the UK where adults can benefit from ECMO.

And when there were no beds in the UK pregnant swine flu victim Sharon Pendleton had to travel to Sweden.

Ms Pendleton, who made a full recovery, needed ECMO because she had an extreme reaction to the H1N1 virus.

And last week it was disclosed that a critically ill swine flu patient from Lanarkshire had to travel to Leicester for the treatment.

The patient is now back being treated at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

Professor Terry Gourlay, of the Bioengineering Unit at the University of Strathclyde, said: "ECMO is a complex treatment and can be used when a patient has respiratory distress syndrome - a condition when the lungs are badly damaged and it is difficult to get enough oxygen into the blood stream. Without oxygen, the organs begin to fail.

"The treatment takes over the job of the lungs while they recover. Blood is taken from the veins and pumped through a gas exchange system outside the body to add oxygen and remove carbon dioxide."

But he added: "Presently, these systems are very complex and ECMO machines require access to mains supplies and a range of clinical specialists.

"We are developing a new, integrated system that requires fewer specialist staff to operate it and can be portable.

"Our aim is to create a smaller system that can be used in any intensive care unit, making treatment available to a much greater number of people."

Prof Gourlay's team is working closely with cardio-thoracic surgeons in Glasgow.

Dr Mark Danton, consultant cardio-thoracic surgeon at Glasgow's Yorkhill and Golden Jubilee Hospitals, described ECMO as being "invaluable in the treatment of both children and adults with life threatening deterioration of heart or lung function".

He added: "The use of ECMO has saved lives that would have been otherwise unlikely to survive by alternative therapy.

"The Strathclyde group propose to optimise the treatment through innovations in design and technology. Potentially this will deliver the treatment more effectively and with a wider application than is the current standard."

Last week Scotland Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon ordered an expert group to be set up to consider how to establish an ECMO centre in Scotland.

And yesterday new figures revealed the number of people thought to have swine flu in Scotland has almost doubled in the past week.

Estimates suggest almost 13,800 people caught the H1N1 bug last week, compared with about 7,000 the previous week.

people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
voicesBy the man who has
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

    £50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

    QA/BA - Agile

    £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...

    PPA Supply Teachers

    £121 - £142 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Early Years, KS1 & 2 Prima...

    Primary Supply Teacher

    £121 - £142 per annum: Randstad Education Luton: Early Years, KS1 & 2 Prim...

    Day In a Page

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?