Minimizing Risks while Connecting Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation with Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy
A self-tapping device with clamp housing and Tego connector needle for ECMO to CRRT connection
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a device that oxygenates the blood of patients needing heart-lung support. Approximately 40% of patients on ECMO also require continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT), a low-flow dialysis machine, due to kidney failure. Currently, CRRT is connected to the existing ECMO circuit in parallel to reduce the number of cannulas and, by extension, the overall risk of infection. Current protocols for building this parallel circuit pose risks of air entrainment and elevated physiological stress for patients in critical condition. Specifically, incorrect usage of manifolds’ stopcocks has killed patients by allowing air to enter the circuit. Furthermore, current protocols require the ECMO system to be shut off for priming, depriving patients of oxygenated blood. Our team designed the TechMO connector as a novel strategy for quickly forming reliable connections between ECMO and CRRT circuits. The TechMO connector is a self-tapping device that clamps onto ECMO tubing and offers a guided path for insertion of a needle to create the circuit connection. This needle is connected to a Tego connector which mates with CRRT tubing to create an airtight seal. Ultimately, we believe that the TechMO connector will save lives by lowering the risk of fatal human errors as well as the time needed to form parallel ECMO-CRRT circuits.