Hemafuse was designed at the request of clinicians at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana. Autologous blood transfusion utilizes the concept of blood salvage, in which the patient’s own blood is removed and retransfused into their body. This is an important concept in developing nations, particularly in Africa, where there are severe shortages of donated blood available for transfusion. The current method of autologous transfusion is termed the “soup ladle” method: the patient’s blood is scooped from the body during open surgery (using a ladle or cup), clots are initially removed by hand, and then the blood is filtered through a few layers of gauze. Anti-coagulant is added, and the mixture is then poured into a blood bag for transfusion. This procedure can lead to severe complications and is also labor-intensive, requiring the attention of 3-4 clinicians, which is often unavailable.
Hemafuse is a handheld mechanical device and is effective because of its simplicity, intuitive operation, purely mechanical design, and potential range of applicability. Using Hemafuse, clinicians are able to extract blood from the woman’s abdomen, quickly filter the blood of any clots or impurities, and safely transfuse it back into the woman’s body through the use of a standard blood bag.
Safer: Hemafuse operates in a closed, sterile circuit, avoiding unnecessary handling of the blood and exposure to the operating environment. The standard-size filters prevent any harmful clots or particulates from being transfused. This results in a safer transfusion for the patient, ultimately leading to shorter hospital stays and better health outcomes.
Efficient: Only one clinician is required to operate the device, as opposed to the 3-4 required in the “soup ladle” method, thus freeing up scarce human resources. With a smooth motion, a clinician can extract and filter blood, and then transfer the clean blood into a blood bag for transfusion. The blood is salvaged more quickly using fewer material and human resources.
Intuitive: Hemafuse is unique in its ability to transfuse whole blood products without the use of a suction machine and to function properly without any electricity. As electricity is often unavailable or unreliable, this is an important feature that ensures the device is always functional. The simple, intuitive design also reduces or eliminates maintenance work and training by technicians.
Reusable: Hemafuse is a unique combination of reusable and disposable parts that allows it to be cleaned and sterilized for multiple patients. This is an important feature in increasing cost-effectiveness and minimizing the need for consumable parts.