Design Portfolio

Overview

Hemafuse is a handheld, mechanical device for intraoperative autotransfusion of blood collected from an internal hemorrhage, meant to replace or augment donor blood in emergency situations.

The design process for Hemafuse began in 2010 with a needs assessment conducted by a University of Michigan team in Ghana. Student engineers collaborated with Ghanaian clinicians, midwives, and nurses at Komfo Anoyke Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi to conduct a thorough needs assessment in the Ob/Gyn department. In this setting, the lack of donor blood available for surgical procedures was identified as a critical issue. Hospitals in Africa, including KATH, have a severely limited blood supply available for clinical use.

To combat this problem, clinicians have adopted a rudimentary, manual method of harvesting shed blood during certain surgical procedures, in which the patient’s blood is physically scooped from the abdomen and filtered through gauze before being reinfused. Similar procedures are employed throughout sub-Saharan Africa when donor blood is not available for transfusion, and is commonly termed “scoop and sieve” autotransfusion. This method is intensive in its large number of clinicians and training, requires a considerable amount of time to perform, and is carried out in a non-sterile manner, greatly increasing the risk of clinician exposure to blood-borne pathogens and contributing to high rates of post-operative infection and clotting disorders. A device like Hemafuse that more safely and efficiently provides autotransfusion offers substantial benefit to patients, clinicians, and the hospital system.

After graduation, the student team launched a company called DIIME. They proceeded with the design and technical development of the Hemafuse device, including work at KATH to share device prototypes and obtain additional feedback from clinicians. All mechanical aspects of the device were assessed and optimized during this time.

Hemafuse is currently a product within Sisu Global Health’s portfolio of medical devices for commercialization. Sisu Global Health develops medical devices for emerging markets and is bring Hemafuse to market through its pipeline into Africa. Hemafuse is preparing for a feasibility study in Zimbabwe later this year and a market pilot in Ghana in 2016.

Project Team

  • Caitlin Winget 2010
  • Theresa Fisher 2010
  • Rajen Kumar 2010
  • Alexander Harrington 2010
  • Beth Schroth 2011
  • Gillian Henker Sisu Global Health
  • Carolyn Yarina Sisu Global Health
  • Katie Kirsch Sisu Global Health

Advisors

  • Kathleen Sienko Biomedical Engineering PhD
  • Amir Sabet Design Science PhD
  • Bob Curry Fabrication