University of Maryland Second in Country to Use Respiratory Dialysis Device to Save Patient

For immediate release: March 03, 2015

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The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) recently became the second hospital in the United States to use a respiratory dialysis machine in an emergency. The Hemolung® Respiratory Assist System, under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval in the U.S., removed a build-up of carbon dioxide in the lungs of Joshua Hosier, a 31-year old Maryland resident, buying time for his lungs to heal so he could be evaluated for a lung transplant. He had previously been diagnosed with an Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and COPD but developed an infection that caused his lung function to worsen. Hosier was unable to breathe adequately on his own and was urgently placed on a ventilator by an outside hospital. He was then immediately transferred to UMMC for lung transplant evaluation.

In order to avoid ventilator-associated complications, which would have prevented the patient from becoming a lung transplant candidate, the multi-disciplinary team in the UMMC Lung Rescue Unit (LRU) worked quickly to get the patient off of the ventilator and breathing independently once more. Si Pham, M.D., professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and chief of cardiothoracic transplantation at UMMC, worked closely with the University of Maryland Baltimore’s Institutional Review Board on the process for utilizing a non-FDA approved, investigational device in an emergency capacity.  With the IRB approval and with consent from the patient’s mother, Dr. Pham placed the patient on the Hemolung RAS to begin removing CO2 from his blood.

The LRU’s multidisciplinary team of experts including pulmonologists, critical care physicians and cardiothoracic surgeons kept watch over Hosier as the Hemolung removed the harmful CO2 through a cannula in his neck. After four days on the Hemolung, doctors determinedHosier’s lungs were recovered enough to breathe on their own, and he was disconnected from the device.

“Mr. Hosier is exactly the type of patient the LRU was designed to treat – a patient with acute respiratory distress in need of a bridge-to-transplant,” says Pham. “This comprehensive approach among our medical experts, and the carefully coordinated care he received, is unique to our program and is what enables us to care for patients as sick as he was.”

The UMMC Lung Rescue Unit relies on research, innovation and new technologies to improve the outcomes of patients with complex respiratory illnesses. Patients benefit from the School of Medicine’s Program in Lung Healing for participation in clinical trials and unique access to the latest medical devices and procedures.

Mr. Hosier is continuing his recovery in the hopes of meeting stringent criteria for the lung transplant wait list.

Hemolung® is manufactured by Alung Technologies.

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