Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 166–178 | Cite as

A Mathematical Model of Gas Exchange in an Intravenous Membrane Oxygenator

  • Todd J. Hewitt
  • Brack G. Hattler
  • William J. Federspiel


Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a pulmonary edemic condition which reduces respiratory exchange in 150,000 people per year in the United States. The currently available therapies of mechanical ventilation and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation are associated with high mortality rates, so intravenous oxygenation represents an attractive, alternative support modality. We are developing an intravenous membrane oxygenator (IMO) device intended to provide 50% of basal oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange requirements for ARDS patients. A unique aspect of the IMO is its use of an integral balloon to provide active mixing. This paper describes a mathematical model which was developed to quantify and optimize the gas exchange performance of the IMO. The model focuses on balloon activated mixing, uses a lumped compartment approach, and approximates the blood-side mass transfer coefficients with cross-flow correlations. IMO gas exchange was simulated in water and blood, for a variety of device geometries and balloon pulsation rates. The modeling predicts the following: (1) gas exchange efficiency is reduced by a buildup of oxygen in the fluid near the fibers; (2) the IMO gas exchange rate in blood is normally about twice that in water under comparable conditions; (3) a balloon diameter of about 1.5 cm leads to optimal gas exchange performance; and (4) in vivo positioning can affect gas exchange rates. The numerically predicted gas transfer rates correlate closely with those experimentally measured in vitro for current IMO prototypes. © 1998 Biomedical Engineering Society.

PAC98: 8710+e, 8790+y, 8265Fr

ARDS Intravenous oxygenation Artificial lung Mathematical model Model Gas exchange Oxygenator 


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Todd J. Hewitt
    • 1
  • Brack G. Hattler
    • 2
  • William J. Federspiel
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Bioengineering ProgramUniversity of PittsburghPittsburgh
  2. 2.Artificial Lung Program, Department of SurgeryUniversity of PittsburghPittsburgh
  3. 3.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of PittsburghPittsburgh

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