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Building one of the world’s smallest heart-lung machines

Building one of the world’s smallest heart-lung machines

Meet Felix Wiedmann and Yannick Bitterwolf, who are part of the Getinge team in Rastatt, Germany that builds Cardiohelp, one of the world’s smallest heart-lung machines.

The activity is high in the Rastatt factory where Getinge’s small and lightweight heart-lung support system Cardiohelp is assembled.

“There is a big demand on the market. During the pandemic it has increased even more, since our solutions are needed to treat the most critically ill COVID-19 patients,” tells Felix Wiedmann, Production Manager.

Nearly twenty years ago, he started working in the assembly line and today he is responsible for the entire production of heart-lung machines and hyperthermia devices in Rastatt.

“We are a great team achieving incredible things together. I particularly like the fact that we always face challenges together and solve them in the best possible way as a team,” he says.

The device they build, Cardiohelp, is used during extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), an approach in which the machine and disposables take over the function of the heart and/or lungs to deliver oxygen to the body, remove carbon dioxide or help the heart pump blood. Getinge's ECMO machines are designed to keep critically ill patients alive while giving their damaged hearts and/or lungs time to recover, or as a bridge until further therapy is possible.

“Cardiohelp drives a blood pump which takes on the role of the heart’s pump function while an oxygenator works as an artificial lung. We all feel the responsibility that comes with building products that are so significant in saving lives. During the pandemic we have become even more aware of how important these devices are,” explains Felix.

Yannick Bitterwolf, who is in the assembly team, agrees with Felix:

“Reading and listening to reports from intensive care units lately has made us increasingly aware of the important role our devices play in treatment and preservation of life in situations such as the pandemic.”

Yannick has been with Getinge since 2008 and thinks it’s an exciting place to work.

“It’s especially enjoyable when I am involved in projects to introduce new products into production and get to contribute with my experience from working here for many years.”

To meet the increased demand, and to reduce risk of spread of the virus, an extra shift was temporarily added in production.

“We want to give everything to meet the desired quantities as good as we possibly can. I am proud of my team and we are determined to keep performing at our best by building these life-saving devices,” concludes Felix.

Discover Getinge’s Cardiohelp >>

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