Artificial lung developed in Japan: difficult to produce in China at present

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According to Japanese media reports, a national medical institution in Osaka has successfully developed a small “artificial lung” (ECMO) recently, which has played a vital role in saving COVID-19’s critically ill patients in this epidemic.
Compared with the conventional ECMO, the small “artificial lung” has higher safety and simpler operation, which can effectively reduce the workload of medical staff and improve the efficiency of treatment.
What is artificial lung?
The artificial lung is actually the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) used in medical treatment, commonly known as “Yeke membrane” and “artificial lung”. It is a medical emergency technical equipment, which is mainly used to provide continuous external respiration and circulation for patients with severe cardiopulmonary failure to maintain their lives.
The essence of ECMO is an improved artificial heart and lung machine. The core part of ECMO is membrane lung and blood pump, which play the role of artificial lung and artificial heart respectively. It can provide long-term cardiopulmonary support for patients with severe cardiopulmonary failure and win valuable time for the rescue of critical illness. ECMO is currently the most core support method for severe cardiopulmonary failure.
ECMO equipment played a crucial role in the COVID-19. Some cases with no possibility of recovery of cardiopulmonary function can still recover from ECMO through increasingly powerful transplantation technology.
For example, in the case of the Central South Hospital of Wuhan University using ECMO equipment to treat patients, it is to place an artificial membrane lung outside the patient’s body to replace the patient’s lung for work. The patient’s own lung can be fully treated and rested. When the patient’s lung infection symptoms disappear, the hypoxia symptoms at the time of the disease are improved, and the patient’s own lung can assume the body function, the external membrane lung can be removed. After that, the human body’s own lung can maintain its normal operation, thus successfully treating patients with novel coronavirus.
In addition to the treatment of heart and lung function diseases, some diseases considered as contraindications can also be treated with the combination of ECMO technology and transplantation technology to achieve ideal treatment results.
The problem of localization of high-end medical electronic devices still exists
There is a popular saying in the medical industry that is “when ECMO rings, there will be ten million liang of gold.”
It means that ECMO equipment has high professional threshold and high cost. It is reported that the start-up cost of an ECMO is about 70000 yuan. It also costs 10-20000 yuan per day to cooperate with the follow-up treatment of patients, and the cost is at least 140000 yuan per week.
The start-up cost of ECMO abroad is even higher. According to the report of Huaxi Securities, the start-up cost of ECMO abroad is 100000 US dollars, even more than 540000 US dollars.
Due to the high and sophisticated characteristics of ECMO equipment, there are only more than 10 manufacturers in the world who can develop and produce ECMO equipment, the most famous of which are the three companies, Medtronic in Sweden, Medtronic in the United States and Sorin in the United Kingdom. Most of the more than 400 ECMO in China are from them. At present, there is no local manufacturer capable of producing ECMO in China, which is enough to show the difficulty of this technology.

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