In Vitro Characterization of the Pittsburgh Pediatric Ambulatory Lung

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Acute and chronic respiratory failure are a significant source of pediatric morbidity and mortality. Current respiratory support options used to bridge children to lung recovery or transplantation typically render them bedridden and can worsen long-term patient outcomes. The Pittsburgh Pediatric Ambulatory Lung (P-PAL) is a wearable pediatric blood pump and oxygenator (0.3 m2 surface area) integrated into a single compact unit that enables patient ambulation. The P-PAL is intended for long-term use and designed to provide up to 90% of respiratory support in children weighing 5–25 kg. Computational fluid dynamics and numerical gas exchange modeling were used to design the P-PAL and predict its performance. A P-PAL prototype was then used to obtain pressure versus flow curves at various impeller rotation rates using a blood analog fluid. In vitro oxygen exchange rates were obtained in blood in accordance with ISO standard 7199. The normalized index of hemolysis (NIH) was measured over a 6 hour period at blood flow rates of 1 and 2.5 L/min. The P-PAL provided blood flows of 1–2.5 L/min against the pressure drop associated with its intended-use pediatric cannulas. The oxygen exchange rate reached a maximum of 108 ml/min at a blood flow rate of 2.5 L/min and met our respiratory support design target. Device-induced hemolysis was low with NIH values of 0.022–0.027 g/100 L in the intended blood flow rate range. In conclusion, the current P-PAL design met our pumping, oxygenation, and hemolysis specifications and has the potential to improve treatment for pediatric respiratory failure.

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