Getinge’s leading the way in Extracorporeal Life Support
Getinge is a world leading supplier of components to support Extracorporeal Life Support (ECLS) - a therapy that supports the function of lungs and/or a heart that have ceased working.
Invented in the 1960's to facilitate heart bypass surgery, ECLS techniques and technologies have been refined to the point that they are used increasingly in Japan, Europe and, more recently, in the US.
"For example, for pulmonary (lung) support, we take blood out of one of the big veins in the body," says David A. Kaufman, MD, Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine at NYU School of Medicine in New York, US, We then run it through a chamber where we are able to extract the carbon dioxide and put in a high concentration of oxygen. Then, that blood is injected back into another vein."
ECLS is primarily a way to buy time and keep the blood oxygenated limiting the damage to the lungs in the most critical situations—like multi-organ failure—while doctors can figure out how to save the patient. The technique has potential in the case of trauma, while a patient awaits organ donations, or in the treatment of acute infectious disease, when long term utilization of a ventilator could cause damage.
"There are times when a patient’s lungs are in such bad shape that the force that a mechanical ventilator needs to apply to get any gas into the lungs is very high," Dr. Kaufman says. "ECLS allows us to make sure that we're not adding to the damage that's already occurring from the patient's underlying disease."
Getinge has a broad, high-end product portfolio for short-term or prolonged ECLS that includes a choice of devices and consumables to provide individual and sufficient extracorporeal heart and lung support, such as centrifugal pumps, oxygenators, heater units, tubing sets, and catheters and cannulae. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the ECLS therapy has provided support to acute care patients around the world in need of further life support than a ventilator can provide.
“Globally, we have seen a rising demand for ECLS therapy related products and will continue to increase our production to help our customers save more lives”, says Lena Hagman, EVP Quality & Regulatory Compliance & Managing Director Cardiopulmonary at Getinge. “Getinge has increased production output of Heart Lung Support (HLS) Advanced Sets and Permanent Life Support (PLS) Sets this year by more than 30% at our production facility in Hechingen and 110% in Rastatt and we have ambitious plans for continued growth.”
The significant investments at these manufacturing facilities in Germany, are primarily related to increased production capacity. This includes various production tools, assembly machinery, coating equipment but also significant headcount increase of production employees.
“In the current health care environment, the US has also seen an increase in demand for ECLS therapy products for the acute care setting. Getinge investments in life-saving options have allowed us to meet the increased demands, such as the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Eric Honroth, Getinge President, North America. Honroth further states, “Vital equipment, such as ECLS therapy products allows the US to be prepared for future challenges.”