The authors developed a new membrane oxygenator that consists of microporous polypropylene hollow fibers coated with a 0.2 μm ultrathin silicone layer. Five venoarterial bypasses were conducted on mongrel dogs for 24 hr using these new oxygenators. The blood flow rate was maintained at 750 ml/min, and the V/Q ratio was maintained at 1:1. As a control, three venoarterial bypasses were conducted under the same conditions using an oxygenator with the same design but without the silicone coating. Eight to 16 hr after the initiation of bypass, severe plasma leakage occurred in all control experiments, so the bypasses were terminated. However, plasma leakage did not occur throughout the 24 hr of any of the experiments using the new oxygenator. The O2 transfer rate of the new oxygenators after 24 hr of perfusion was 59.7 ± 6.6 ml/min/m2, and the plasma free hemoglobin level 8 hr after the initiation of bypass was 41.4 ± 40.2 mg/dl, compared with 145.3 ± 189.6 mg/dl in the control group. Scanning electron microscopic examination of the silicone coated fibers after 24 hr of bypass revealed a few scattered platelet adherents and no damage to the silicone coated surface. These results suggest that this new oxygenator has satisfactory gas transfer and good durability.
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