The number of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) procedures in Germany rose to 5,949 in 2014 effectively tripling the number of procedures in five years, reports consultancy firm, assets Consulting Healthcare GmbH. The report is based on observation of OPS codes in Germany that were recently released by the German Institute of Medical Documentation and Information (DIMDI).
However according to, Dr. Peter Borges, who runs the consultancy that released the report, the technology on the market leaves much to be desired. “We found that ECMO markets are growing rapidly, specifically in respiratory applications, in spite of cumbersome and outdated technology.”
Along with Borges, Christof Lenz, a cofounder and CEO of Hemovent discussed the current billion-dollar ECMO market and its need for disruption. “Although ECMO has proven to be an effective treatment for acute respiratory and circulatory failure, the expanded use of ECMO still suffers from the drawbacks of outdated ECMO technology,” said Lenz. Borges cited the need for better portability, lighter weight, and self-contained technologies. “ECMO therapy is difficult to use, expensive to purchase and, most importantly, not readily transportable,” he said.
Lenz promised “We intend to change this situation: not only for cardiac-related indications but also for respiratory failure including CO2 removal. We still believe that ECMO belongs in the hands of experienced clinical experts, but we can improve their mobility significantly and support them in their patient focus rather than being distracted by device handling.”
Hemovent, which just raised $6 million in Series A financing seems poised to meet those needs with it’s portable ECMO product. Borges describes it as weighing “less than a pair of shoes.” In addition, he says the apparatus “functions like a natural heart and does not require a battery or software.”
The pneumatic driver is the size of a smart phone and can be connected to wall O2 supply or to a gas bottle. The driver output is connected with a flexible tube to the patient module.
Borges says the Hemovent product is the world’s smallest and first self-contained and fully portable ECMO system that supports or replaces heart-and-lung function in the event of cardiac and respiratory failure.