An ultra-thin, all PDMS-based microfluidic lung assist device with high oxygenation capacity
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Preterm neonates with immature lungs require a lung assist device (LAD) to maintain oxygen saturation at normal levels. Over the last decade, microfluidic blood oxygenators have attracted considerable interest due to their ability to incorporate unique biomimetic design and to oxygenate in a physiologically relevant manner. Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) has become the main material choice for these kinds of devices due to its high gas permeability. However, fabrication of large area ultrathin microfluidic devices that can oxygenate sufficient blood volumes at clinically relevant flow rates, entirely made of PDMS, have been difficult to achieve primarily due to failure associated with stiction of thin PDMS membranes to each other at undesired locations during assembly. Here, we demonstrate the use of a modified fabrication process to produce large area ultrathin oxygenators entirely made of PDMS and robust enough to withstand the hydraulic conditions that are encountered physiologically. We also demonstrate that a LAD assembled from these ultrathin double-sided microfluidic blood oxygenators can increase the oxygen saturation level by 30% at a flow rate of 30 ml/min and a pressure drop of 21 mm Hg in room air which is adequate for 1 kg preterm neonates. In addition, we demonstrated that our LAD could withstand high blood flow rate of 150 ml/min and increase oxygen saturation by 26.7% in enriched oxygen environment which is the highest gas exchange reported so far by any microfluidic-based blood oxygenators. Such performance makes this LAD suitable to provide support to 1 kg neonate suffering from respiratory distress syndrome.
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