Development and evaluation of a variable, miniaturized oxygenator for various test methods

Jutta Arens*, Lotte Schraven, Andreas Kaesler, Christian Flege, Thomas Schmitz-Rode, Rolf Rossaint, Ulrich Steinseifer, Rüdger Kopp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
131 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) became an accepted therapy for the treatment of severe acute respiratory distress syndrome and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. However, ECMO systems are still prone to thrombus formation and decrease of gas exchange over time. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct qualified studies to identify parameters for optimization of ECMO systems, and especially the oxygenator. However, commercially marketed oxygenators are not always appropriate and available for certain research use cases. Therefore, we aimed to design an oxygenator, which is suitable for various test conditions such as blood tests, numerical simulation, and membrane studies, and can be modified in membrane area size and manufactured in laboratory.

Methods: Main design criteria are a homogeneous blood flow without stagnation zones, low pressure drop, manufacturability in the lab, size variability with one set of housing parts and cost-efficiency. Our newly designed oxygenator was tested comparatively regarding blood cell damage, gas transfer performance and pressure drop to prove the validity of the design in accordance with a commercial device.

Results: No statistically significant difference between the tested oxygenators was detected and our new oxygenator demonstrated sufficient hemocompatibility. Furthermore, our variable oxygenator has proven that it can be easily manufactured in the laboratory, allows to use various membrane fiber configurations and can be reopened easily and non-destructively for analysis after use, and the original geometry is available for numerical simulations.

Conclusion: Therefore, we consider this newly developed device as a valuable tool for basic experimental and numerical research on the optimization of oxygenators.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-704
Number of pages10
JournalArtificial organs
Issue number4
Early online date2 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Extracorporeal lung assist
  • Gas exchange
  • Hemocompatibility
  • Hemolysis
  • Oxygenator
  • Variable
  • Adaptable


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