19 August 2009

Experimental Novalung system in preparation phase for US FDA approval

A life-saving device developed by the Regensburg University hospital in Germany and used in emergency military medical situations where the patient has experienced lung damage due to the trauma of blast or gunshot wounds, may be FDA approved within 6 - 12 months, according to a spokesman quoted in Stars & Stripes' Thursday edition.

When I first heard about the Novalung system a couple of years ago, I imagined something like an "iron lung". But the Novalung works similar to the way a dialysis machine works - it simply filters a patient’s blood to remove carbon dioxide and replaces it with oxygen. In fact, the patient's own blood pressure is enough to force the blood through the membrane so that the device does not even require a pump.

Because Landstuhl Army Regional Medical Center is located in Germany, and with the experience gained through treatment of thousands of trauma cases over the past several years, a partnership has developed between US Military physicians and the Regensburg hospital.

The Landstuhl Acute Lung Rescue Team – incorporating the use of the Novalung system – was established in 2005 by husband and wife team U.S. Air Force Col. Warren Dorlac and Lt. Col. Gina Dorlac, former Landstuhl doctors. Col. (Dr.) Dorlac is currently serving in Afghanistan. The current ALRT personnel are doctors, nurses and specialists who work in Landstuhl’s intensive care unit, and is now led by Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Raymond Fang.

Landstuhl's Lung Team and the Novalung system have received attention in recent weeks after extraordinary efforts were undertaken to save the life of a British Soldier seriously wounded in Afghanistan. See our post "The needs of the one... ", which Michael Yon has republished as "Do Americans Care About British Soldiers?", adding his invaluable personal perspective as a combat journalist embedded with the Soldier's unit in Afghanistan.

No comments: