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Open AccessArticle

Bubbles Moving in Blood Flow in a Microchannel Network: The Effect on the Local Hematocrit

CEFT, Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto (FEUP) Rua Dr. Roberto Frias, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal
Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, ESTiG/IPB, C. Sta. Apolónia, 5300-857 Bragança, Portugal
Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
MEtRICS, Mechanical Eng. Dep., University of Minho, Campus de Azurém, 4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Micromachines 2020, 11(4), 344; (registering DOI)
Received: 7 February 2020 / Revised: 23 March 2020 / Accepted: 23 March 2020 / Published: 26 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 10th Anniversary of Micromachines)
Air inside of blood vessels is a phenomenon known as gas embolism. During the past years, studies have been performed to assess the influence of air bubbles in microcirculation. In this study, we investigated the flow of bubbles in a microchannel network with several bifurcations, mimicking part of a capillary system. Thus, two working fluids were used, composed by sheep red blood cells (RBCs) suspended in a Dextran 40 solution with different hematocrits (5% and 10%). The experiments were carried out in a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microchannel network fabricated by a soft lithography. A high-speed video microscopy system was used to obtain the results for a blood flow rate of 10 µL/min. This system enables the visualization of bubble formation and flow along the network. The results showed that the passage of air bubbles strongly influences the cell’s local concentration, since a higher concentration of cells was observed upstream of the bubble, whereas a lower local hematocrit was visualized at the region downstream of the bubble. In bifurcations, bubbles may split asymmetrically, leading to an uneven distribution of RBCs between the outflow branches.
Keywords: blood flow; gas embolism; microcirculation; bifurcations; network blood flow; gas embolism; microcirculation; bifurcations; network
MDPI and ACS Style

Bento, D.; Lopes, S.; Maia, I.; Lima, R.; Miranda, J.M. Bubbles Moving in Blood Flow in a Microchannel Network: The Effect on the Local Hematocrit. Micromachines 2020, 11, 344.

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