Oxygenators have been used in neonatal extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) since the 1970s. The need to develop a more effective oxygenator for this patient cohort exists due to their size and blood volume limitations. This study sought to validate the next design iteration of a novel oxygenator for neonatal ECMO with an integrated pulsatile displacement pump, thereby superseding an additional blood pump. Pulsating blood flow within the oxygenator is generated by synchronized active air flow expansion and contraction of integrated silicone pump tubes and hose pinching valves located at the oxygenator inlet and outlet. The current redesign improved upon previous prototypes by optimizing silicone pump tube distribution within the oxygenator fiber bundle; introduction of an oval shaped inner fiber bundle core, and housing; and a higher fiber packing density, all of which in combination reduced the priming volume by about 50% (50 to 27 mL and 41 to 20 mL, respectively). Gas exchange efficiency was tested for two new oxygenators manufactured with different fiber materials: one with coating and one with smaller pore size, both capable of long-term use (OXYPLUS® and CELGARD®). Results demonstrated that the oxygen transfer for both oxygenators was 5.3-24.7 mlO2/min for blood flow ranges of 100-500 mlblood /min. Carbon dioxide transfer for both oxygenators was 3.7-26.3 mlCO2/min for the same blood flow range. These preliminary results validated the oxygenator redesign by demonstrating an increase in packing density and thus in gas transfer, an increase in pumping capacity and a reduction in priming volume.
- Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
- Pulsatile flow