Centrifugal pump performance during low-flow extracorporeal CO2 removal; safety considerations

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The aim of this study was to examine the hydrodynamic performance and gaseous microemboli (GME) activity of two centrifugal pumps for possible use in low-flow extracorporeal CO2 removal.

Materials & Methods:

The performance of a Rotassist 2.8 and a Rotaflow 32 centrifugal pump (Maquet Cardiopulmonary AG, Hirrlingen, Germany) was evaluated in a water-glycerine mixture-filled in vitro circuit that enabled measurement of pressures and GME at the pump inlet and pump outlet. Pressure-flow curves were acquired in a 1,000 to 5,000 rpm range while increasing drainage resistance in one series and outlet resistance in another.


Respective minimum pump inlet and maximum pump outlet pressures were -539 mmHg and 754 mmHg for the Rotassist 2.8 and -606 mmHg and 806 mmHg for the Rotaflow 32. Maximum standard deviations on pump pressures and flow amounted to 3.0 mmHg and 0.03 L/min, respectively, regardless of pump type and drainage or outlet resistance. The GME at the pump outlet were detectable at pump inlet pressures below -156 mmHg at 0.2 L/min and 2,500 rpm for the Rotassist 2.8 and below -224 mmHg at 0.9 L/min and 3,000 rpm for the Rotaflow 32.


Both the Rotassist 2.8 and Rotaflow 32 centrifugal pumps show a comparably high hydrodynamic stability, but potential GME formation with decreasing pump inlet pressures should be taken into account to ensure safe centrifugal pump-based low-flow extracorporeal CO2 removal.

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