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Authors Conforti ML, Connor NP, Heisey DM, Vanderby R, Kunz D, Hartig GK
Journal J Rehabil Res Dev Volume: 39 Issue: 4 Pages: 497-504
Publish Date 2002 Jul-Aug
PubMed ID 17638146

Medicinal leeches are used to treat venous congestion, a complication of reconstructive surgery. Despite substantial drawbacks of leeching, little progress has been made to develop a device that would replace the leech for this purpose. The goal of this study was to develop and test mechanical prototypes for the treatment of venous congestion. We tested four prototypes (1, 2, 3a, and 3b) using congested fasciocutaneous flaps in swine. Blood removed by each prototype was measured for up to 4 hours. On average, the four prototypes removed 609%, 644%, 853%, and 811% more blood, respectively, from congested flaps versus a leech. Prototypes 3a and 3b, which allowed for innovative subcutaneous chemical (3a and 3b) and mechanical (3b) anticoagulation at the bleeding wound, sustained high levels of blood removal for up to 4 hours. Thus, a mechanical device can potentially replace the use of leeches for treating venous congestion. Copyright © 2016 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System