DOI: 10.1177/02676591241232824 ISSN: 0267-6591

Hypobaric type oxygenators – physics and physiology

Phatiwat Chotimol, William Lansdowne, David Machin, Kressle Binas, Gianni D Angelini, Ben Gibbison
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Safety Research
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • General Medicine

Brain injury is still a serious complication after cardiac surgery. Gaseous microemboli (GME) are known to contribute to both short and longer-term brain injury after cardiac surgery. Hypobaric and novel dual-chamber oxygenators use the physical behaviors and properties of gases to reduce GME. The aim of this review was to present the basic physics of the gases, the mechanism in which the hypobaric and dual-chamber oxygenators reduce GME, their technical performance, the preclinical studies, and future directions. The gas laws are reviewed as an aid to understanding the mechanisms of action of oxygenators. Hypobaric-type oxygenators employ a high oxygen, no nitrogen environment creating a steep concentration gradient of nitrogen out of the blood and into the oxygenator, reducing the risk of GMEs forming. Adequately powered clinical studies have never been carried out with a hypobaric or dual-chamber oxygenator. These are required before such technology can be recommended for widespread clinical use.

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