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Artificial lung development work brings hope to lung disease patients

We do it without even thinking, and if we didn’t we would die.

I’m talking of course about breathing. It’s the most basic bodily function, but for the one in five people in Wales with lung disease, it can be difficult to do.

So this week many of them have welcomed the news that there could be a lifeline in the future.

A team of scientists in Swansea is developing an artificial lung.

Initially they’ll produce an external device that could be worn on a belt buckle.

The unit would be attached to one of the patient’s main arteries, probably in the leg. Blood would then pass through the device to remove carbon dioxide and add oxygen (the process that usually happens in the lungs).

Eventually it’s hoped they’ll develop a fully implantable version, held in place in the body in a silicon bag, for patients who’ve had their lungs removed.

Initial tests are well underway and clinical trials are due to start next year.

The Welsh Government have given £250 000 to help fund the work.

If the device is successful it will be similar to the first artificial heart which was unveiled last week, which is keeping Matthew Green alive while he waits for a heart transplant.

The British Lung Foundation says it would be wonderful if lung patients can benefit in the same way that he is.

So when trials are over and the devise goes into production, hopefully thousands of people acrossWalesand the world, will be able to breathe easily at last



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