Tens of thousands of Americans and Veterans with end stage lung disease (ESLD) are not candidates for lung transplant and thus are doomed to suffer a long and miserable death from dyspnea, limitation of activity, and eventually total respiratory failure. The long-term goal of this technology-development project is to improve rehabilitation from lung disease by developing artificial lung systems that automatically and rapidly compensate for the changing respiratory and metabolic needs of the patient, thereby increasing patient health, comfort, activity, and ability to exercise and rehabilitate. The objectives of the current proposal are to: 1) develop a control system for an artificial lung system featuring sweep gas servoregulation to adjust CO2 removal based on patient need; and, 2) evaluate the control system in animal models. At the completion of this project, we expect to be ready to integrate the developed control system with various artificial lung systems and prostheses that will, for the first time, enable large changes in patient activity during rehabilitation and daily life.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects approximately 16% of the Veteran population. COPD is the fourth most prevalent disease in the VA population and one of the most costly to the VA health care system. Over 500,000 service-connected respiratory disabilities have been diagnosed in Veterans and 6.5% of all Gulf War service-connected disabilities are respiratory system related. Other Veterans have experienced acute lung and failure from blast injury or smoke inhalation. Over 2.3 million Veterans reported having some form of ?lung trouble? in the 2001 National Survey of Veterans. This project has the potential to revolutionize the rehabilitation of Veterans suffering from lung disease through the development of smart prosthetic lung systems that automatically and rapidly respond to the changing metabolic needs of the patient, thereby increasing patient health, comfort, activity level, and rehabilitation.