Cardiovascular Engineering and Technology

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 376–382 | Cite as

Towards a Novel Spatially-Resolved Hemolysis Detection Method Using a Fluorescent Indicator and Loaded Ghost Cells: Proof-of-Principle

  • Sebastian V. JansenEmail author
  • Indra Müller
  • Nicole Kiesendahl
  • Thomas Schmitz-Rode
  • Ulrich Steinseifer


It is of the utmost importance to reduce flow-induced hemolysis in devices such as heart-valve prostheses and blood pumps. Thus, in vitro measurements of hemolysis are performed in order to optimize their design in this regard. However, with existing measurement methods, hemolysis can only be assessed as an integrated value over the complete test-circuit. Currently, there are no spatially-resolved in vitro hemolysis measurement techniques known to the authors that would allow for a determination of the critical regions within a device. In this study, a novel spatially-resolved measurement principle is proposed. Ghost cells (i.e. erythrocytes with a lower hemoglobin concentration) were loaded with a calcium–dicitrato complex, and a fluorescent calcium indicator was suspended in the extracellular medium. Calcium and indicator are separated until the cell membrane ruptures (i.e. hemolysis occurs). In the moment of hemolysis, the two compounds bind to each other and emit a fluorescent signal that can be recorded and spatially-resolved in a setup very similar to a standard Particle Image Velocimetry measurement. A proof-of-principle experiment was performed by intentionally inducing hemolysis in a flow-model with a surfactant. The surfactant-induced hemolysis demonstrated a clear increase of the fluorescent signal compared to that of a negative reference. Furthermore, the signal was spatially restricted to the area of hemolysis. Although further challenges need to be addressed, a successful proof-of-principle for novel spatially-resolved hemolysis detection is presented. This method can contribute to better design optimization of devices with respect to flow-induced hemolysis.


Hemolysis In vitro techniques Regional blood flow Erythrocyte ghost Flow-induced blood damage 



We want to thank I. Mager and J. Maas for their excellent support and assist during the blood trials.

Conflict of interest statement

Author S.V.Jansen, author I.Müller, author N.Kiesendahl, author T.Schmitz-Rode, and author U.Steinseifer declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Statement of human studies

No human studies were carried out by the authors for this article.

Statement of animal Studies

No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian V. Jansen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Indra Müller
    • 1
  • Nicole Kiesendahl
    • 1
  • Thomas Schmitz-Rode
    • 1
  • Ulrich Steinseifer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cardiovascular Engineering, Institute of Applied Medical EngineeringRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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