International Perfusion Association


Flow Characterization of Maquet and Bio-Medicus Multi-Stage Drainage Cannulae During Venoarterial Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation

Background: Drainage cannulae extract blood from a patient during venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA ECMO), a treatment that temporarily supports patients undergoing severe heart and/or lung dysfunction. Currently, the two most commonly used multi-stage drainage cannulae are manufactured by Maquet and Bio-Medicus, but their designs vary in many aspects which impacts the generated flow dynamics. Therefore, this study aimed to use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to explore the flow characteristics of the aforementioned cannulae and their impact on complications such as thrombosis.

Methods: The Maquet and Bio-Medicus cannulae were 3D modeled within a patient-specific geometry of the venous vasculature taken from a computed tomography scan of a patient undergoing VA ECMO. A drainage flow rate of 4 L/min was assigned to each cannula. Lastly, a stress blended eddy simulation turbulence model was employed to resolve bulk flow turbulence.

Results: The proximal row of side holes in both cannulae generated high intensity counter-rotating vortices, thus generating supraphysiological shear. These proximal rows were also responsible for the majority of flow extraction in both cannulae (>1.6 L/min). Despite identical simulation settings, each cannulae had differing impacts on global flow dynamics. For instance, the Bio-Medicus model produced a total stagnant blood volume of 25.6 ml, compared to 17.8 ml the Maquet cannula, thereby increasing the risk of thrombosis.

Conclusions: Overall, our results demonstrate that differences in design clearly impact flow dynamics and risk of complications. Therefore, further work in optimizing cannula design may be beneficial to prevent harmful flow characteristics.

Keywords: CFD; Computational fluid dynamics; Differential oxygenation; Thrombosis; VA ECMO; Venous cannula; Vessel collapse.

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