Bespoke trolley for liver perfusion device

Challenge

Design, manufacture and test a bespoke trolley to raise a transportable liver perfusion device to a comfortable working height.

Approach

We worked with surgeons at Addenbrooke’s Hospital to understand their user needs and the environment in which the trolley would be used. From concept generation to product delivery, medical device engineers and designers developed the trolley specifically for use with the OrganOx Metra liver perfusion device. Simulated and physical tests were conducted to ensure the safety of the complete system.

Outcome

We produced a robust and functional trolley which improved surgeon access to the liver perfusion device.

Bespoke trolley for liver
perfusion device

At Addenbrooke’s Hospital, liver transplants are kept alive on an automated liver perfusion device that was developed by the start-up OrganOx and our medical device consultants. The device increases the availability of suitable livers and allows the organ to be stored safely for longer, however it was housed on a short trolley designed for transportability.

We noticed that the surgeons at Addenbrooke’s were operating the OrganOx Metra device at floor level and crouching down for long periods of time. To help raise the Metra to a comfortable working height, we decided to build a bespoke trolley for them to use with the device.

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Identifying needs

We met with stakeholders at Addenbrooke’s to define the product requirements and ensure that the design solution would raise the Metra to a comfortable working height without unduly compromising the mobility and usability of the device. The Metra system at Addenbrooke’s had to remain in use during development, so this posed the challenge of designing a bespoke one-off product without physical access to the full system. Once we had a clear understanding of the challenges, our engineers and designers collaborated to brainstorm concepts.

Our primary focus when selecting a concept was to ensure the design was robust, easy to clean and fit with the aesthetics of the Metra. Materials were carefully selected to ensure they were suitable for the harsh chemicals found in the hospital environment.

Steven McLellan, Senior Consultant, Team Consulting

The trolley needed to be stable and safe for use in a hospital setting, while being able to withstand cleaning with chlorine. It also needed to house the Metra device without compromising its functionality. To achieve this, we cut out sections of the trolley’s surface to allow access to the device vents and ports for heating and cooling. This also had the effect of reducing the overall weight for improved usability.

Theoretical and physical testing

Analysis software was used to assess whether the trolley could withstand impacts, high loads and remain stable on inclines. To conduct the physical testing, a simulated working load was constructed with the same centre of mass and footprint as the Metra device, along with a wooden runway for obstacle impact testing and an incline surface for tip testing.

The tests aimed to simulate the conditions the trolley could face within the hospital environment, such as being pushed into a door frame, colliding with a step and tackling an inline of 10°.

Ben Brown, Mechanical Engineer, Team Consulting

Outcome

We developed and manufactured a robust and functional trolley that raises the Metra device to a comfortable working height, thus increasing the medical device’s accessibility for surgeons at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

The trolley has already been used for several liver perfusions and the unanimous opinion of the users is that it is brilliant. We particularly like being able to operate on it and the ease with which we can put the liver on and take it off. Thank you to Team Consulting for providing this.

Professor Chris Watson, Honorary Consultant Surgeon, Addenbrooke's Hospital

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