Goal: The importance of the main impeller design parameters in bearingless centrifugal pumps with respect to hemolysis for cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) applications are studied in this work. Methods: Impeller prototypes were designed based on theoretical principles. They were manufactured and their hydraulic and hemolytic performance was analyzed experimentally. The cell compatibility is benchmarked against commercially available centrifugal blood pumps BPX-80 (Medtronic) and FloPump 32 (International Biophysics Corporation). Results: The developed prototypes outperform the BPX-80 and FloPump 32 with regard to hemocompatibility by more than a factor of 4.5. The implemented pump features reduced overall and priming volumes. A significant improvement of the cell compatibility is achieved by increasing the radial gap between the impeller and the pump head. The blade should be sufficiently high and a blade outlet angle of 90° provides favorable performance. No correlation between the hydraulic and hemolytic performance is observed. Conclusions: This work identified the most important geometrical parameters of the impeller for blood pumps with respect to cell compatibility. This provides valuable design guidelines for improving existing pumps.
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