An experimental model of veno-venous arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation

Mirko Belliato, Luca Caneva, Alessandro Aina, Antonella Degani, Silvia Mongodi, Lisa Prahl Wittberg, Carlo Pellegrini, Lars M. Broman, Giorgio Antonio Iotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Veno-venous arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is a hybrid-modality of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation combining veno-venous and veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. It may be applied to patients with both respiratory and cardio-circulatory failure. Aim: To describe a computational spreadsheet regarding an ex vivo experimental model of veno-venous arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation to determine the return of cannula pairs in a single pump–driven circuit. Methods: We developed an ex vivo model of veno-venous arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation with a single pump and two outflow cannulas, and a glucose solution was used to mimic the features of blood. We maintained a fixed aortic impedance and physiological pulmonary resistance. Both flow and pressure data were collected while testing different pairs of outflow cannulas. Six simulations of different cannula pairs were performed, and data were analysed by a custom-made spreadsheet, which was able to predict the flow partition at different flow levels. Results: In all simulations, the flow in the arterial cannula gradually increased differently depending on the cannula pair. The best cannula pair was a 19-Fr/18-cm arterial with a 17-Fr/50-cm venous cannula, where we observed an equal flow split and acceptable flow into the arterial cannula at a lower flow rate of 4 L/min. Conclusion: Our computational spreadsheet identifies the suitable cannula pairing set for correctly splitting the outlet blood flow into the arterial and venous return cannulas in a veno-venous arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation configuration without the use of external throttles. Several limitations were reported regarding fixed aortic impedance, central venous pressure and the types of cannulas tested; therefore, further studies are mandatory to confirm our findings.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Artificial Organs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • artificial lung and respiratory support
  • cardiac and circulatory support
  • computational fluid dynamics
  • ECMO circuit
  • ex-vivo simulator
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • extracorporeal membrane oxygenation cannulae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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