Oxygenation performance assessment of an artificial lung in different central anatomic configurations

Int J Artif Organs. 2023 May;46(5):295-302. doi: 10.1177/03913988231168163. Epub 2023 Apr 12.


Objectives: Aim of this work was to characterize possible central anatomical configurations in which a future artificial lung (AL) could be connected, in terms of oxygenation performance.

Methods: Pulmonary and systemic circulations were simulated using a numerical and an in vitro approach. The in vitro simulation was carried out in a mock loop in three phases: (1) normal lung, (2) pulmonary shunt (50% and 100%), and (3) oxygenator support in three anatomical configurations: right atrium-pulmonary artery (RA-PA), pulmonary artery-left atrium (PA-LA), and aorta-left atrium (Ao-LA). The numerical simulation was performed for the oxygenator support phase. The oxygen saturation (SO2) of the arterial blood was plotted over time for two percentages of pulmonary shunt and three blood flow rates through the oxygenator.

Results: During the pulmonary shunt phase, SO2 reached a steady state value (of 68% for a 50% shunt and of nearly 0% for a 100% shunt) 20 min after the shunt was set. During the oxygenator support phase, physiological values of SO2 were reached for RA-PA and PA-LA, in case of a 50% pulmonary shunt. For the same conditions, Ao-LA could reach a maximum SO2 of nearly 60%. Numerical results were congruous to the in vitro simulation ones.

Conclusions: Both in vitro and numerical simulations were able to properly characterize oxygenation properties of a future AL depending on its placement. Different anatomical configurations perform differently in terms of oxygenation. Right to right and right to left connections perform better than left to left ones.

Keywords: Gas exchange; artificial lung and respiratory support; central anatomic configuration; mock loop; numerical simulation.

MeSH terms

  • Heart Atria
  • Lung*
  • Oxygen
  • Oxygenators
  • Pulmonary Artery*
  • Ventilators, Mechanical


  • Oxygen