The transition from the bubble oxygenator to the microporous membrane oxygenator

Leonard, Ronald J.
May 2003
Perfusion;May2003, Vol. 18 Issue 3, p179
Academic Journal
The transition from bubble oxygenators to microporous membrane oxygenators is a good example of how industry working with customers and material suppliers can help improve a surgical technique, such as cardiopulmonary bypass. The development is characterized by many individuals who, through their inventiveness and determination, made the transition possible. While the medical personnel involved in the transition may be well known to professionals in the medical field by their other endeavors, many of the key engineers and industry entrepreneurs are mainly unknown. The purpose of this paper is to outline key elements of engineering and material science in the history of the transition, and also to identify some of the key individuals as well. In the early 1960s, the medical device industry, as related to perfusion, was indeed a small endeavor. One of the key people who recognized early the need for some company to actually manufacture devices was William Graham, then president of Baxter Travenol, who approved and nurtured the manufacture of the Kolff twin-coil dialyzer, and a heat-sealed sheet bubble oxygenator based on the DeWall-Lillehei concept. Isolated perfusion was not new, dating from the 1800s, but it took doctors like John Gibbon Jr. to actually determine the details for full body perfusion and use it in the early 1950s.


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