Life and limb could be saved with a device invented by a team of Melbourne medical experts.
Three Monash University clinicians developed the "bidirectional cannula" to prevent heart surgery patients from losing oxygen to their legs, a serious complication that can result in amputation.
Cardiothorasic surgeon Randall Moshinsky, Cardiac anaesthetist Dr Elli Tutungi and Head of Perfusion Jim McMillan developed the device.
This invention is used to connect patients to a heart-lung machine through a large artery at the top of the leg, an improvement on previous devices which direct blood flow to the upper body, causing a lack of oxygen.
"This has been a major issue for intensive care units around the world," Dr Moshinsky said.
The cannula is currently being manufactured and is expected to be available in 2018.