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ABSTRACT: In the United States, standardization of neonatal extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) circuit was achieved during the 1980s. Since that time, the consoles and components of the ECMO circuit have remained fundamentally unchanged (bladder, rollerpump, silicone membrane oxygenator). Extracorporeal technology, however, has witnessed many significant advancements in components during the past two decades. These new technologies have characteristics that may improve outcomes when applied in the ECMO arena. Understanding how these technologies perform in long-term applications is necessary. Therefore, the purpose of this project is to evaluate the performance of a miniature ECMO circuit consisting of current generation technologies in an animal model. An ECMO circuit (prime volume 145 mL) was designed that included a hollow fiber oxygenator and a remote mounted centrifugal pump. All circuit tubing and components were surface coated. Three sheep (approx 13 kg) were placed on ECMO using standard neck cannulation techniques and maintained according to clinical protocols. Technical implementation, oxygenator function, and hematological parameters were accessed. Duration of ECMO was 20, 48, and 58 hours. There was no evidence of oxygenator failure, as measured by pressure drop and oxygen transfer, in any of the procedures. No plasma leak was observed in any oxygenators. Platelet count trended downward after 24 hours. Visual inspection after ECMO showed very little evidence of gross thrombosis. This ECMO circuit design departs dramatically from the typical North American systems. The use of this console and components facilitated a 70% reduction in priming volume over a traditional ECMO circuit. Further investigations should be conducted to determine if circuit miniaturization can reduce the morbidity associated with blood product consumption and the bloods contact with the artificial surfaces of the ECMO circuitry.
The Journal of extra-corporeal technology 10/2005; 37(3):315-7.