Vacuum-assisted venous drainage and gaseous microemboli in cardiopulmonary bypass

Shigang Wang, Akif Undar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


When conventional gravity siphon venous drainage cannot achieve satisfactory venous drainage during minimally invasive cardiac and neonatal surgeries, assisted venous drainage techniques are needed to ensure adequate flow. One assisted venous drainage technique, vacuum-assisted venous drainage (VAVD), the aid of a vacuum in the venous reservoir, is now widely used to augment venous drainage during cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) procedures. VAVD permits the use of smaller venous cannulae, shorter circuit tubing, and lower priming and blood transfusion volumes, but increases risk of arterial gaseous microemboli and blood trauma. The vacuum should be set as low as possible to facilitate full venous return, and real-time monitoring of gaseous microemboli in the arterial and venous line should be used to achieve the safest conditions. With current ultrasound technology, it is possible to simultaneously detect and classify gaseous microemboli in the CPB circuit. In this article, we summarize the components, setup, operation, advantages, and disadvantages of VAVD techniques and clinical applications and describe the basic principles of microemboli detectors, such as the Emboli Detection and Classification (EDAC) Quantifier (Luna Innovations, Roanoke, VA) and Bubble Counter Clinical 200 (GAMPT, Zappendorf, Germany). These novel gaseous microemboli detection devices could help perfusionists locate the sources of entrained air, eliminate hidden troubles, and minimize the postoperative neurologic impairments attributed to gaseous microemboli in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-256
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Extra-Corporeal Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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