OxyBench - Testbed for implantable Lungs



Johanna Clauser

Group Leader Research & Validation


+49 241 80-47456




Chronic lung disease is the third leading cause of death worldwide. Due to the lack of donor organs resulting in long waiting times for patients in need for a lung transplantation, extracorporeal lung assist (ECLA) as a technical alternative with the potential for long-term therapy gains increasing attention.

Due to a lack of hemocompatibility and long-term stability, the current and commercially available ECLA systems have a limited certified application period of 30 days. Therefore, current research focuses especially on increasing hemocompatibility of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) systems in order to achieve a prolonged long-term operation and likewise a reduced risk for patients. However, the development of novel and potentially long-term stable artificial lungs for the treatment of chronic lung disease remains inconclusive without new testing methods targeting the long-term behavior of oxygenators in blood contact.


A systematic investigation of influence factors shall elucidate the underlying mechanisms responsible for the reduction of gas transfer in oxygenators over the application period. This involves the development and validation of an experimental model of these mechanisms.

Therefore, the development of a stable test fluid is required for tests over an adequate period. The demands for the test fluid include the modelling of unspecific protein adsorption and coagulation cascade. A continuous test over thirty days with intermittent gas transfer characterization of the oxygenators shall be proven feasible with the methods developed within this project. The intermittent performance tests allow a characterization of the long-term stability of the oxygenator depending on protein adsorption and thrombus formation. For validation purposes, the testing devices undergo a histological investigation and they are compared with explanted membrane oxygenators from ECMO patients.

Cooperation Partner Department of Anesthesiology at Uniklinik RWTH Aachen
Funding This research project is supported by the START-Program of the Faculty of Medicine, RWTH Aachen