Heart-Lung Bypass with Vacuum-Assisted Venous Drainage: Positives and Negatives

June 1, 2013 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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ECRI Institute's Accident and Forensic Investigation (AFI) Group provides specialized services to investigate, analyze, and prevent incidents, injuries, and deaths related to medical device failures and organization systems and processes. This column discusses risk management implications of cases from the AFI Group archives.

Heart-lung bypass facilitates many types of heart surgery and other complex procedures, but improper setup or other system issues could lead to inappropriately high or low pressure at various points in the bypass circuit, a "rare but serious situation," explains Scott R. Lucas, Ph.D., PE, program manager, engineering, ECRI Institute's AFI Group. Because vacuum-assisted venous drainage (VAVD), which is sometimes used with heart-lung bypass, adds another pressure variable, VAVD must be monitored and managed closely to prevent injury. VAVD is "one more thing to monitor" for the...

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