Hemafuse: Devise to ease Blood transfusion in Africa
Hemafuse was designed at the request of clinicians at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana by Sisu Global Health. Autologous blood transfusion utilizes the concept of blood salvage, in which the patient’s own blood is removed and re-transfused into their body. This is an important concept in developing nations, particularly in Africa, where there are severe shortages of donated blood available for transfusion. The current method of autologous transfusion is termed the “soup ladle” method: the patient’s blood is scooped from the body during open surgery (using a ladle or cup), clots are initially removed by hand, and then the blood is filtered through a few layers of gauze. Anti-coagulant is added, and the mixture is then poured into a blood bag for transfusion. This procedure can lead to severe complications and is also labour-intensive, requiring the attention of 3-4 clinicians, which is often unavailable.
The Device The Hemafuse is a manual auto transfusion device that’s used to re-transfuse a patient’s own blood in the case of an internal haemorrhage, such as a ruptured ectopic pregnancy or with injuries caused by a road accident. Using Hemafuse, clinicians are able to extract blood from the woman’s abdomen, quickly filter the blood of any clots or impurities, and safely transfuse it back into the woman’s body through the use of a standard blood bag The Hemafuse looks like a giant syringe, and suctions blood through a filter when its handle is pulled up. When the handle is pushed down, the blood is transferred into a blood bag in a closed system. The device provides a sanitary alternative to the common method of salvaging a patient’s blood by using a soup ladle to spoon the blood through gauze before putting it back into the body. The (r) Evolve is a centrifuge that can separate blood either with or without the use of electricity in three minutes. The technology enables health workers to perform blood separation for rapid diagnostic tests, which are currently used to detect diseases like HIV, malaria, hepatitis, syphilis, and typhoid fever. Blood separation can also extend the timeframe within which a blood sample needs to be tested, increasing the window from two hours to three days Benefits Safer: Hemafuse operates in a closed, sterile circuit, avoiding unnecessary handling of the blood and exposure to the operating environment. The standard-size filters prevent any harmful clots or particulates from being transfused. This results in a safer transfusion for the patient, ultimately leading to shorter hospital stays and better health outcomes.
Efficient: Only one clinician is required to operate the device, as opposed to the 3-4 required in the “soup ladle” method, thus freeing up scarce human resources. With a smooth motion, a clinician can extract and filter blood, and then transfer the clean blood into a blood bag for transfusion. The blood is salvaged more quickly using fewer material and human resources. Intuitive: Hemafuse is unique in its ability to transfuse whole blood products without the use of a suction machine and to function properly without any electricity. As electricity is often unavailable or unreliable, this is an important feature that ensures the device is always functional. The simple, intuitive design also reduces or eliminates maintenance work and training by technicians. Reusable: Hemafuse is a unique combination of reusable and disposable parts that allows it to be cleaned and sterilized for multiple patients. This is an important feature in increasing cost-effectiveness and minimizing the need forconsumable parts. Both the Hemafuse and the (r)Evolve were developed by Sisu Global Health, a Michigan-based start-up that’s completed four years of field research. The idea is to create a profitable and sustainable medical device platform, which will eventually produce more devices for what the company’s LinkedIn page refers to as “emerging health care markets.” Sisu’s criteria for testing the devices it develops are that they prove for patients and clinicians to use, that they save time for doctors and clinicians, that they’re intuitive both to use and to repair, that they’re robust in low-resource environments, and that they’re locally-affordable for both hospitals and patients. The start-up recently won a $250,000 grant from Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development, a competition for technology to combat infant and maternal mortality, sponsored by USAID and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Source: http://www.sisuglobalhealth.com/blog/