Gas transfer through hollow fiber membranes (HFMs) can be increased via fiber oscillation. Prior work, however, does not directly translate to present-day, full-scale artificial lungs. This in vitro study characterized the effects of HFM oscillations on oxygenation and hemolysis for a pediatric-sized HFM bundle. Effects of oscillation stroke length (2-10 mm) and frequency (1-25 Hz) on oxygen transfer were measured according to established standards. The normalized index of hemolysis was measured for select conditions. All measurements were performed at a 2.5 L min-1 blood flow rate. A lumped parameter model was used to predict oscillation-induced blood flow and elucidate the effects of system parameters on oxygenation. Oxygen transfer increased during oscillations, reaching a maximum oxygenation efficiency of 510 mL min-1 m-2 (97% enhancement relative to no oscillation). Enhancement magnitudes matched well with model-predicted trends and were dependent on stroke length, frequency, and physical system parameters. A 40% oxygenation enhancement was achieved without significant hemolysis increase. At a constant enhancement magnitude, a larger oscillation frequency resulted in increased hemolysis. In conclusion, HFM oscillation is a feasible approach to increasing artificial lung gas transfer efficiency. The optimal design for maximizing efficiency at small fiber displacements should minimize bundle resistance and housing compliance.
Keywords: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; Oxygenator design; Respiratory support.