Commercialisation of Nutrient Recycling Devices for Ileostomies and Gastrointestinal Fistulas

Project Team Leader
A/Prof Gregory O'Grady (UoA)

Project Team
Prof Ian Bissett (UoA)
A/Prof Liz Dennett (UoO)
Dr Celia Keane (UoA)
Dr John Davidson (Surgical Design Studio)
Mr Rob Davidson (Surgical Design Studio)
Mr Bruce Stokes (UoA)

Project Summary
This project arises from the MedTech Seed Grant “A Nutrient Recycling Device for Gastrointestinal Stomas and Fistulas”. The temporary ‘diverting’ ileostomy remains a cornerstone of colorectal care. Around ~1:6000 people receive an ileostomy each year, for diverse indications but most commonly colorectal cancer. The distal small bowel ends are brought to the skin so that contents flow into a bag. Although diverting stomas are usually only required for 1-2 weeks, patients retain them for ~4.5 months on average, until it is safe for reversal. During this time, patients are subject to substantial morbidity, inducing a major economic burden, and encompassing: dehydration and renal failure, suboptimal chemotherapy attainment, hospital readmissions (rate ~15%), worse long-term bowel function, impaired quality of life, loss of microbiome, and high risks of ileus and C. difficile infections at the time of reversal. Patients with enterocutaneous fistulas (gastrointestinal leaks through the abdominal wall) face even greater challenges, exacerbated by major fluid & electrolyte loss and nutritional impairment, typically requiring prolonged hospital stays and periods of parenteral nutrition, with each patient’s care resulting in massive costs to hospital systems. Overcoming these complications would be a critical advance.