MIECT: How did it start?
Transiently assuming the functions of both heart and lungs as surgeons repair critical valves and vessel lesions can be achieved by mechanical circulatory support has its origins in cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). However, CPB technologies induce also some unintended adverse effects. During the 90s, a mayor trend pushed many physicians to reconsider the place of coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) and challenged the surgical reference treatment by less invasive catheter-based angioplasties. Nevertheless, best long-term patient outcomes were related to surgery. Therefore, a small number of multidisciplinary teams in Regensburg and Paris started to develop a minimally invasive CPB system. The basic concept relied on a closed-loop perfusion circuit with a non-occlusive pump. Moreover, the team in Paris pushed the concept further and developed a complete fully integrated CPB system allowed first closed-heart and later open-heart surgery with aortic cross-clamping and efficient cardioprotection. Those were the initial steps towards the future developments of minimally invasive extracorporeal circulation technologies. Initial clinical results were clearly positive in terms of overall morbimortality. Moreover, several preliminary results pointed out the biological benefits that decreased hemodilution, improved preservation of the immune reactions and more stable anticoagulation could bring to the field of ECT.