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Biomed Instrum Technol. 1999 May-Jun;33(3):277-84.

Recent innovations in total liquid ventilation system and component design.

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  • 1Alliance Pharmaceutical Corp., San Diego, California, USA.


In addition to partial liquid ventilation (PLV), total liquid ventilation (TLV) is being explored as a potential therapy to mitigate ventilator-associated lung injury and acute lung failure. TLV is ventilation of the completely liquid-filled lung using tidal flow of oxygenated perfluorochemical (PFC) liquid delivered by a "liquid ventilator." Most TLV research to date has focused on "small" lung (animals < 20 kg; vast majority < 5 kg), with primary relevance to its use in children. Recent investigations regarding TLV in larger lungs have helped define new design challenges for liquid ventilator systems to succeed as clinical products. Adult TLV requires the delivery of significantly higher liquid tidal volumes, with proportionately greater O2 and CO2 exchange. Although a simple scale-up of liquid ventilator components such as pumps, tubing, fittings, and gas and heat exchangers might be considered the most straightforward way to compensate for the increased demand, there are a number of practical problems with this approach. These include requirements to: 1) minimize priming volume, 2) minimize PFC evaporative loss, 3) suppress flow-induced cavitation in fittings and components, 4) monitor and control ventilation based on pressure signals exhibiting noise, 5) maintain ability and accuracy of delivered breaths in a fluid mechanical environment having higher inertial forces and pressure losses than for small lung systems, 6) use disposable or sterilizable fluid-contacting components, and 7) maintain PFC materials compatibility. TLV system and component innovations implemented on a new large-animal liquid ventilator prototype are presented. The advantages of new pumps, gas exchangers, and temperature-control components are discussed.

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