Multilayer Scaling of a Biomimetic Microfluidic Oxygenator

ASAIO J. 2022 Oct 1;68(10):1312-1319. doi: 10.1097/MAT.0000000000001647. Epub 2022 Jan 12.


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has been advancing rapidly due to a combination of rising rates of acute and chronic lung diseases as well as significant improvements in the safety and efficacy of this therapeutic modality. However, the complexity of the ECMO blood circuit, and challenges with regard to clotting and bleeding, remain as barriers to further expansion of the technology. Recent advances in microfluidic fabrication techniques, devices, and systems present an opportunity to develop new solutions stemming from the ability to precisely maintain critical dimensions such as gas transfer membrane thickness and blood channel geometries, and to control levels of fluid shear within narrow ranges throughout the cartridge. Here, we present a physiologically inspired multilayer microfluidic oxygenator device that mimics physiologic blood flow patterns not only within individual layers but throughout a stacked device. Multiple layers of this microchannel device are integrated with a three-dimensional physiologically inspired distribution manifold that ensures smooth flow throughout the entire stacked device, including the critical entry and exit regions. We then demonstrate blood flows up to 200 ml/min in a multilayer device, with oxygen transfer rates capable of saturating venous blood, the highest of any microfluidic oxygenator, and a maximum blood flow rate of 480 ml/min in an eight-layer device, higher than any yet reported in a microfluidic device. Hemocompatibility and large animal studies utilizing these prototype devices are planned. Supplemental Visual Abstract,

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomimetics*
  • Equipment Design
  • Microfluidics*
  • Oxygen
  • Oxygenators


  • Oxygen