Evaluation of plasma resistant hollow fiber membranes for artificial lungs

ASAIO J. 2004 Sep-Oct;50(5):491-7. doi: 10.1097/01.mat.0000138078.04558.fe.


Hollow fiber membranes (HFMs) used in artificial lungs (oxygenators) undergo plasma leakage (or wetting) in which blood plasma slowly fills the pores of the fiber wall, plasma leaks into gas pathways, and overall gas exchange decreases. To overcome this problem plasma resistant fibers are being developed that are skinned asymmetric or composite symmetric versions of microporous oxygenator fibers. This report evaluates several candidate plasma resistant HFMs in terms of their gas permeance and plasma resistance as measured in a surfactant wet out test. Five candidate fibers were compared with each other and with a control fiber. CO2 and O2 gas permeance (in ml/s/cm2/cm Hg) in the plasma resistant fibers ranged from 3.15E-04 to 1.71E-03 and 3.40E-04 to 1.08E-03, respectively, compared with 1.62E-02 and 1.77E-02 for the control fiber. Maximum dye bleed through for the plasma resistant fibers in the forced wet out test were significantly less than for the control fiber. CO2 gas permeance of a plasma resistant fiber imposes the greatest constraint upon artificial lung design for sufficient gas exchange. However, our results suggest sufficient plasma resistance can be achieved using special skinned and composite HFMs while maintaining an acceptable CO2 gas permeance for a broad range of artificial lung applications.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Organs*
  • Carbon Dioxide / chemistry
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Materials Testing
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Oxygen / chemistry
  • Oxygenators, Membrane*
  • Permeability
  • Plasma / metabolism
  • Polypropylenes / chemistry
  • Respiration, Artificial / instrumentation*
  • Siloxanes / chemistry
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Wettability


  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Polypropylenes
  • Siloxanes
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Oxygen