Japan research and development of artificial lung: domestic production is difficult

According to Japanese media reports, a national medical institution in Osaka has successfully developed a small “artificial lung” (ECMO), which has played a crucial role in saving seriously ill COVID-19 patients during the current epidemic.

Compared with the traditional ordinary ECMO, the small “artificial lung” is safer and simpler to operate, which can effectively reduce the work burden of medical personnel and improve the efficiency of treatment.

What is artificial lung?

Artificial lung is actually the “Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation” (ECMO) used in medical treatment, commonly known as “Ye Ke membrane” and “artificial lung”. It is a medical emergency technical equipment, mainly used to provide continuous extracorporeal respiration and circulation for patients with severe cardiopulmonary failure to maintain patient life.

The essence of ECMO is an improved artificial heart-lung machine, the core part of which is membrane lung and blood pump, which respectively play the role of artificial lung and artificial heart, which can provide long-term cardiopulmonary support for patients with severe cardiopulmonary failure and win precious time for the rescue of critical patients. ECMO is currently the core support for severe cardiopulmonary failure.

In this COVID-19 outbreak, ECMO equipment has played a crucial role. In some cases where cardiopulmonary function is not possible, recovery can still be achieved by leaving ECMO with increasingly powerful transplantation techniques.

For example, in the case of treating patients with ECMO equipment in Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, an artificial membrane lung is placed outside the patient’s body to replace the patient’s lung for work, and the patient’s own lungs can receive adequate treatment and rest. After the patient’s symptoms of lung infection disappear, the symptoms of hypoxia during the onset of the disease are improved, and the patient’s own lungs can assume the functions of the body. The ECMO can be removed. After that, the body’s own lungs can maintain their normal operation, thus successfully treating patients with the new coronavirus.

In addition to the treatment of cardiopulmonary diseases, some diseases that are considered contraindications can also be combined with ECMO technology and transplantation technology to achieve ideal treatment results.

Localization of high-end medical electronic devices remains a problem

A popular saying in the medical community is “ECMO sounds, gold is thousand thousand tael.”

This means that ECMO equipment has a high professional threshold and is expensive. It is reported that the start-up cost of an ECMO needs about 70,000 yuan, with the follow-up treatment of patients, it also needs to spend 10,000 to 20,000 yuan a day, and the cost is at least 140,000 yuan a week.

The start-up cost of ECMO in foreign countries is even higher, according to the report of Huaxi Securities, the start-up cost of ECMO in foreign countries needs $100,000, or even more than $540,000.

Due to the sophisticated characteristics of ECMO equipment, there are only more than 10 manufacturers in the world to develop and produce ECMO equipment, the most famous is Sweden’s Maivico, the United States Medtronic and the United Kingdom’s Solin three companies, China’s more than 400 ECMO mostly from them. At present, there are no local manufacturers capable of producing ECMO in China, which is enough to show the difficulty of this technology.

Japan research and development of artificial lung: domestic production is difficult