The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, has developed a pioneering surgical blood salvage technology that will transform the way major surgery is carried out by decreasing patients’ loss of blood.

After receiving Canadian national approval and gaining the CE mark, following very successful clinical trials in the University of Kirikkale Hospital in Ankara, Turkey, HemoSep is now set to revolutionize the health care sector.

In order to reduce the volume of donor blood required and the issues associated with transfusion reaction, in a process called auto transfusion, the device is going to recover blood spilled during open-heart and major trauma surgery and concentrate the blood cells for transfusion back to the patient.

Professor Terry Gourlay, who led the development of the technology at the University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, explained:

“This is a fantastic example of real collaboration between the University of Strathclyde and the medical device industry to take this device from concept to clinical delivery.

The introduction of HemoSep to the medical device field will make a significant difference to people’s lives and greatly reduce the cost and risks associated with blood transfusions. The technology has distinct advantages over traditional techniques which are not only costly but technically challenging and involve the use of a complex centrifuge and pumping apparatus by specialist technicians.

The researchers hope children undergoing open-heart surgery will be able to use a further developed form of a derivative of this technology, when the challenges of blood conservation are even more critical.

The HemoSep device was tested in clinical trials that were carried out in more than 100 open-heart surgery operations. Experts found that the device considerably decreased the need for blood transfusions together with preservation of normal clotting mechanisms and a decrease in the inflammatory reaction often encountered after such surgical procedures.

A blood bag is found in the device that 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. Intravenous transfusion returns the separated cells to the patient.

The new technology is a huge breakthrough for the field of autotransfusion for cardiac surgery. Is is highly beneficial, easy to use and is known to decrease the need for donor transfusion and blood loss in patients, said Professor Serdar Gunaydin, Head of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Kirikkale where the trials were conducted.

Gunaydin continued:

In the climate of national blood product shortages and concern for disease transmission and immunosuppression, every effort should be made to optimise blood recovery and reduce allogeneic blood usage.

The HemoSep technology has produced impressive results, it is the easiest method we have ever used. There is no interference with the ongoing operation and product is ready to use following a very short processing time. It quickly and safely recovers substantial proteins, clotting factors and cell concentrates for all types of cardiac procedures.

We believe this new technology will be one of the essential components of the routine heart surgery in the near future. We even think this technique may be useful for blood preservation during transplantation, orthopedics and neurosurgery.”

The CE mark means that the device will now be sold to the healthcare sector, even though clinical trials are planned. HemoSep was licensed to Advancis Surgical Ltd., where the company will sell and advertise the device in all European territories.

“We are delighted to be able to make this announcement which comes after considerable shared effort to develop this exciting product. We hope that this success will be the first of many through our collaboration with the University of Strathclyde,” Mr. Stephen Cotton, Advancis Surgical Ltd director of research and development.

Corresponding with Acancis’ commercial launch of the device, the resuts will be presented by Professors Gourlay and Gunaydin in September at the European Society for Artificial Organs congress in Rostockm Germany.

Written by Sarah Glynn