Called CytoSorb, the filter was developed to treat deadly inflammation through blood purification. As blood passes through the drinking glass–sized filter, small proteins and pieces of proteins get stuck in thousands of tiny, porous polymer beads packing the filter. Inside each bead is a labyrinth of tunnels and holes where those proteins, including cytokines, get lost, never to emerge again, says Phillip Chan, an internal medicine doctor and chief executive officer of CytoSorbents Corporation in Monmouth Junction, N.J., which makes the filter. In total, there are seven football fields' worth of surface area inside the beads.
Blood cells and antibodies are too big to fit in the filter’s pores, and salts and other crucial electrolytes are too small to get trapped. That’s important because “these patients are on a knife’s edge, and the last thing you want to do is disrupt their [normal] blood chemistry,” Chan says.
The filter has been used to treat more than 2,300 COVID-19 patients in more than 30 countries. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency use authorization for the filter to be used in adult COVID-19 patients who are already on mechanical ventilation or will need it imminently. But CytoSorb hasn’t gone through rigorous testing in COVID-19 patients yet, Chan says.
In Europe, where the device was approved in 2011, it has been used to treat people with sepsis, pancreatitis, liver disease and respiratory failure, among other conditions. In the United States, it is also being tested in people undergoing heart surgeries, either for filtering out damaging inflammation or for removing blood thinner drugs for people having heart attacks who need emergency catheterization.
Therapeutic Plasma Exchange and Selective Plasma Separation Methods
Fundamental Technologies, Pathology and Clinical Results
Bambauer, Rolf; Latza, Reinhard; Schiel, Ralf
580 pages, 4th ed.
print 978-3-89967-732-4 | pdf 978-3-89967-945-8
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