International support for MUMC+ research on heart-lung machine use

Researchers at Maastricht UMC+ are receiving a $140,000 grant for a comprehensive European study into the use of the heart-lung machine in the case of life-threatening heart problems. The amount was awarded by the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT), underlining the high quality of the research project and researchers.

The research project is coordinated by Dr Paolo Meani, cardiologist-intensivist at the University Hospital of Milan and researcher at MUMC+, and is entitled A Multicentric Left Ventricular Ventricular Venting Strategy Comparison in Patients Receiving Extracorporeal Life Support - A Prospective Observational Study. Meani collaborates in this project with cardiothoracic surgeon Roberto Lorusso of MUMC+, who is a professor specialising in the use of the heart-lung machine.

Heart-lung machine
When a patient's heart and/or lungs do not function due to a serious disorder, the situation is life-threatening. To survive this situation, some of these patients may receive support from a heart-lung machine or ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation). This heart-lung machine takes over the function of the heart and lungs, allowing the patient to survive the situation, to heal the damage and to bridge the period until complex treatment such as transplantation. It could involve a few hours or even weeks.

Improving use
The use of the heart-lung machine is complex and takes place in the intensive care unit or operating theatre by a team of experts such as intensivists, cardiothoracic surgeons, perfusionists and ICU nurses. About 40 to 50 patients per year benefit from this treatment in MUMC+. Meani: ‘Research shows that 44% of adults and 53% of children survive with heart-lung machine support. We want to improve the use of the heart-lung machine to increase this survival rate. To do so, we will map out this use among a large group of patients in more than 20 hospitals in Europe. This will allow us to better understand how certain complications occur, how heart and lung function develops and how patients recover. Ultimately, this will also help us better predict which patients will benefit from heart-lung machine support.’

Heart+Vascular Centre and CARIM
Professor Lorusso is a cardiothoracic surgeon at Maastricht UMC+ and an expert on heart-lung machines. Together with his research group, he focuses on research on improving the use of the heart-lung machine. In doing so, he collaborates with hospitals and researchers throughout the world. Lorusso works as a surgeon at the Heart+Vascular Centre and is a professor and researcher at the Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM) of Maastricht UMC+.


Picture: a heart-lung machine

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