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Enteroclysis, or collection of fistula effluent and distal refeeding, is currently used to treat ECF. Gastrointestinal contents are collected in a bag affixed to the skin, mixed with prepared nutrition, and pumped into the distal intestine. The lack of a reliable anchoring mechanism for collection and feeding tubes results in frequent tube dislodgement. As patients may wait years for definitive surgery, the complexity of this process requires continuous or frequent inpatient hospital admission.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a medical device which is securely attached to the patient, collects fistula effluent and pumps it into the distal intestine. The device is comprised of a proximal collecting tube for collecting gastrointestinal secretions and ingested food, a portable pump, and a distal refeeding tube to deliver contents to the intestine beyond the fistula. Importantly, the device includes an anchoring mechanism to secure the tubing in place.
This technology improves patient autonomy and will enable patients to eat normally and reduce hospital time while lowering treatment costs.