Study looks to improve life-saving technology
Hospital Care

Study looks to improve life-saving technology

Tens of thousands of lives have been saved by extracorporeal life support – life-saving technology.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is only used for the most ill of ill patients; patients that need more than a typical ‘life-support’ machine to keep their organs functioning. This could be a mother who’s been in a tragic accident, a brother waiting for an organ transplant, or a grandparent dealing with end-stage heart failure. In their time of need, ECMO may be the only technology to help them pull through. But because of how these ECMO machines work, patients are exposed to oxygen levels far higher than a healthy person would be.

While ECMO can be an extremely useful, life-saving tool, these oxygen levels also put the patient at risk of other complications – like blood clotting. Rylan, a researcher with the Critical Care Research Group, wanted to know whether these ECMO machines could lead to increased blood clotting for these already critically ill patients.

He set out to test this theory, and using a circulation loop, was able to mimic the effect an ECMO machine would have on blood cells. It was just as he expected – the higher oxygen levels increased the chances of blood clotting, which in an ICU setting could be fatal. Now, he hopes to work on translating this research into real clinical outcomes, and eventually save more lives.

The Prince Charles Hospital is one of the leading ECMO centres worldwide, and Rylan is just one of the researchers working for better outcomes. As he says, “It’s impossible to identify a single inspiration for the work we do, but at the foundation of our research are two equally important motivators. The opportunity to improve the care we offer to the most vulnerable patients is combined with an insatiable drive to understand the mysteries of medicine.”

Support The Common Good here.

Published: July 29, 2019

Related news & events

The journey from the Cycle of Giving to the Tour de Brisbane

The Common Good

The journey from the Cycle of Giving to the Tour de Brisbane

In 2006, Mary and Mal Long started an event called Cycle of Giving to show their gratitude to Mal’s donor family and medical team.

Find out more

Chain Reaction Challenge 2024: Helping Kids visiting The Prince Charles Hospital

The Common Good

Chain Reaction Challenge 2024: Helping Kids visiting The Prince Charles Hospital

In March, dozens of cyclists from Brisbane will take part in a 1000 km cycle in and around Adelaide for the Chain Reaction Challenge 2024.

Find out more

30-year-old heart transplant recipient’s journey to the 2024 Tour de Brisbane

Heart Disease

30-year-old heart transplant recipient’s journey to the 2024 Tour de Brisbane

A Perth father who received a heart transplant three years ago is preparing to take part in the 2024 Tour de Brisbane. Read more about his journey and support his ride here.

Find out more

International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2024

The Common Good

International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2024

This February, we acknowledge International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2024 and some of the remarkable women who are making a difference in STEM.

Find out more

Marfan and Aortopathy Conference Brisbane 2024

The Common Good

Marfan and Aortopathy Conference Brisbane 2024

The Marfan and Aortopathy Conference Brisbane 2024 is on Saturday, April 20, at The Prince Charles Hospital. Click here for more details.

Find out more

What is Marfan Syndrome?

The Common Good

What is Marfan Syndrome?

What is Marfan Syndrome? It affects about 1 in 5000 people across the globe, and for some, it can lead to serious or even life-threatening complications. Learn more here.

Find out more

The Café for The Common Good finds new home at Caboolture Hospital

Social Enterprise

The Café for The Common Good finds new home at Caboolture Hospital

Caboolture Hospital Café: In exciting news, our café has a new home in the hospital’s recently opened Clinical Services Building.

Find out more

Take a walk down Memory Lane at The Prince Charles Hospital

Ageing

Take a walk down Memory Lane at The Prince Charles Hospital

At The Prince Charles Hospital, patients and their families are encouraged to take a trip down the newly completed ‘Memory Lane’. Read about the impactful project here.

Find out more

2023 Year in Review

The Common Good

2023 Year in Review

The Common Good’s 2023 Year in Review: It’s been an impactful year thanks to our phenomenal supporters! Click here to read all about it.

Find out more