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Solution to Blood Oxygenator problems

AQF Medical were tasked by one of their customers to help resolve a problem that was occurring during the development of a new blood oxygenator device. A blood oxygenator is a medical device that is capable of exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood of a patient during surgical procedures such as open heart surgery. This  may necessitate the interruption or cessation of blood flow in the body, a critical organ or major blood vessel. A blood oxygenator adds oxygen or oxygen enriched air to the blood and channels it back to the patient while carbon dioxide diffuses out of the blood and is removed.

During the development of the blood oxygenator it was observed that significant amounts of air bubbles were being generated during the oxygenation process and the membrane filter was unable to sufficiently remove the air bubbles. Air bubbles that form in the blood oxygenator during the transfer process can potentially cause life-threatening complications for patients. AQF Medical in conjunction with one of the world’s leading polyurethane manufacturers, identified a number of open-celled reticulated polyurethane medical foams that offer unique filtration characteristics and are an ideal solution when looking to remove air bubbles. The porosity of the reticulated foam is critical when designing a blood oxygenator device and AQF Medical evaluated a range of reticulated foams with porosity ranging from 10ppi to 100 ppi (pores per inch) for evaluation in the blood oxygenator.

Solution – A hydrophilic open-celled polyurethane medical foam was identified and it provided greater capacity for blood flow as well as facilitating the faster breakdown of air bubbles in the blood. In addition AQF Medical were able to create a filter design that fitted with the existing blood cannister thus reducing the need for further expensive redesigns.