This report describes the development of an implantable gas exchange device. The device is composed of hollow fiber elements wound around a central open core enclosed in a compliant outer casing, offering very low resistance to blood while providing adequate gas exchange. The purpose of this study was to determine if this device design can completely support the gas exchange requirements of a large animal when the device is placed in series with the main pulmonary artery (PA). Six 40–80 kg adult sheep were used. The device was placed with vascular grafts anastomosed end to side on the proximal and distal main PA. The study began with the entire right ventricular blood flow being diverted through the device by occlusion of a snare around the PA between the vascular grafts. Total gas exchange then was provided by the device and the endotracheal tube was clamped. Results showed that this pumpless potentially implantable device is capable of completely supporting the gas exchange requirements of the experimental animals for up to 8 hours in the acute setting without significant change in cardiac index (CI) and oxygen consumption (VO2) compared with baseline. CI = 55.0 ± 17.0 cc/min/kg versus 45.0 ± 17.3 cc/min/kg. VO2 = 1.90 ± 0.96 cc O2/min/kg versus 2.08 ± 0.54 cc O2/min/kg.
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