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Artif Organs. 2018 Nov;42(11):E380-E390. doi: 10.1111/aor.13277. Epub 2018 Aug 29.

A Computational Model of Heat Loss and Water Condensation on the Gas-Side of Blood Oxygenators.

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Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering "Giulio Natta", Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy.


Clinical observation of condensation at the gas flow exit of blood oxygenators is a recurrent event during cardiopulmonary bypass. These devices consist of a bundle of hollow fibers made of a microporous membrane that allows the exchange of O2 and CO2 . The fibers carry a gas mixture inside (intraluminal flow), while blood flows externally around them (extraluminal flow). Although different studies described this effect in the past, the specific role of the different sections of the device requires further analysis, and the total condensation rate remains unquantified. In this study, a closer look is taken at the transition of gas between the oxygenation bundle and the external room air. A method is proposed to estimate the total condensate output, combining computational fluid dynamics (CFD) of thermal distribution and a simplified 1D model of water vapor saturation of gas. The influence of a number of different parameters is analyzed, regarding material properties, environmental conditions, and clinical use. Results show that condensation rate could vary in a 30-fold range within reasonably small variations of the different variables considered.


Blood oxygenator; Computational fluid dynamics; Condensation; Heat exchange; Hollow fiber membrane

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