Functioning of Cardiopulmonary Bypass Equipment

Cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) equipment or machine is also termed as the heart-lung machine or ‘the pump’. It temporarily imitates the basic function of the lungs and the heart, by substituting the pumping action of the heart and by adding oxygen to the blood. The CPB machine does the function of the lungs and heart so that a cardiac surgeon can operate in a bloodless and stable surgical field. This would mean that the heart is still at the time of the surgery, which is what is needed when the heart has to be opened – used mainly in open heart and coronary artery bypass and other cardiac surgeries. Research reports on cardiopulmonary bypass equipment market states a fact that the first ever successful open heart surgery was conducted in May 6th 1953. Cardiopulmonary bypass equipments are handled and operated by perfusion technologists (blood flow specialists), by medical directions given by the anesthesiologists, and cardiac surgeons providing surgical advices and are the one who connect the pump to the patient’s body. Cardiopulmonary bypass is termed as bypass of the lungs and the heart as in open heart surgery.


The Functionality of the Equipment

CPB is a kind of extracorporeal circulation. When a patient is connected to the cardiopulmonary bypass equipment, the pump channels the blood from the upper-right chamber of the heart, which is the right atrium, to a specific reservoir known as oxygenator. When the blood goes through the oxygenator, oxygen bubbles up via the blood and goes into the red blood cells. This results the blood to turn oxygen-rich (bright red) from oxygen-deprived (dark red). Now, a filter eliminates all the air bubbles from the fresh oxygen-rich blood, this blood channels by a plastic tube to the aorta – which is the human body’s primary blood conduit. Lastly, from the aorta the blood is supplied to the rest of the body. Summing the entire procedure, the heart-lung machine takes over the function of the heart and lungs for the entire duration of the surgery, and does the work of heart – pump blood, and the lungs – provide oxygen to red blood cells.

CPB Components

  • Cannula is put into the right atrium for draining the venous return
  • Under gravity, the venous blood passes into venous reservoir
  • Blood is oxygenated and CO2 is eliminated by membrane oxygenator
  • Blood temperature is controlled by the heat exchanger
  • Surgery is done with cooling to ~28-34C
  • Air bubbles are removed with the help of a 40 mm filter
  • The pump returns blood into aorta distal to a cross clamp
  • Suction removes blood from the area of surgery
  • Returned to patient through cardiotomy reservoir

Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.



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