In vitro evaluation of the performance of an oxygenator depending on the non-standard gas content of the inlet blood with special regard on CO2 elimination

Perfusion. 2023 Sep 22:2676591231204565. doi: 10.1177/02676591231204565. Online ahead of print.


Introduction: The performance of an oxygenator, as found in literature, is evaluated according to protocols that define standard values of the gas content in the inlet blood. However, when dealing with simulations of lung insufficiency, a more extensive evaluation is needed. This work aims to investigate and assess the gas exchange performance of an oxygenator for different input values of gas content in blood.

Methods: Three commercially available oxygenators with different membrane surfaces were investigated in a mock loop for three blood flow rates (0.5l/min, 1l/min, and 5l/min) and two gas-to-blood ratios (1:1, and 15:1). The initial CO2 and O2 partial pressures (pCO2 and pO2) in blood were set to ≥ 100 mmHg and ≤10 mmHg, respectively. For each ratio, the efficiency, defined as the ratio between the difference of pressure inlet and outlet and the inlet pCO2 (pCO2(i)), was calculated.

Results: The CO2 elimination in an oxygenator was higher for higher pCO2(i). While for a pCO2(i) of 100 mmHg, an oxygenator eliminated 80 mmHg, the same oxygenator at the same conditions eliminated 5 mmHg CO2 when pCO2(i) was 10 mmHg. The efficiency of the oxygenator decreased from 76,9% to 49,5%. For simulation reasons, the relation between the pCO2(i) and outlet (pCO2(o)) for each oxygenator at different blood and gas flows, was described as an exponential formula.

Conclusion: The performance of an oxygenator in terms of CO2 elimination depends not only on the blood and gas flow, but also on the initial pCO2 value. This dependence is crucial for simulation studies in the future.

Keywords: CO2 elimination; artificial lung; gas exchange; numerical simulation; oxygenator potential.