3-D Printed Blood Recycling Machine Reduces Cost of Blood Transfusions

Posted in Printing Services by Chris Wiltz on April 21, 2014

 Brightwak Ltd. says using 3-D printing components cut prototyping costs for its Hemosep a blood recycling machine by 96%.

The Hemosep incorporates several 3-D printed components. [image source: Statasys]

Brightwak Ltd, makers of the Hemosep, a blood recycling machine for transfusion patients, says that using 3-D printing cut its prototyping costs by 96%. The Hemosep is an autotransfusion device that collects and recycles blood that has been spilled during major surgeries. Blood collected from a surgical site or left in a heart-lung machine is placed into a bag that features a polycarbonate membrane to soak up unwanted plasma while preserving blood cells, and into a mechanical agitator that keeps the blood from settling. Since the patient's own blood is used this whole autotransfusion process reduces the amount of donor blood required and the problems associated with transfusion reaction.

Several parts of the prototype device, which has received a CE Mark in the UK, were 3-D printed using Stratasys Dimension 1200es printers including the main filtration and cooling systems. The final device is made of metal but Brightwake says that using 3-D printing to prototype the parts allowed for functional, but far less expensive testing. "Previously we had to outsource the production of these parts which took around three weeks per part," says Steve Cotton, Brightwake's Director of Research and Development. "Now we're 3-D printing superior strength parts overnight, cutting our prototyping costs by 96% and saving more than £1,000 for each 3-D printed model. "3-D printing has not only enabled us to cut our own costs, it has also been crucial in actually getting a functional device to clinical trials.”
According to the company, the Hemosep has performed successfully in over 100 open-heart surgeries performed in Turkey. Further patient trials are now underway in the UK.
Hemosep is currently seeking FDA approval.
The MD&M East Conference will be hosting sessions on "Accelerating Speed to Market Through Effective Prototyping and 3-D Printing" June 11, 2014.

-Chris Wiltz, Associate Editor, MD+DI


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