Jump to main content
Jump to site search
PLANNED MAINTENANCE Close the message box

Scheduled maintenance work on Wednesday 22nd May 2019 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM (GMT).

During this time our website performance may be temporarily affected. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause and thank you for your patience.

Issue 21, 2014
Previous Article Next Article

The promise of microfluidic artificial lungs

Author affiliations


Microfluidic or microchannel artificial lungs promise to enable a new class of truly portable, therapeutic artificial lungs through feature sizes and blood channel designs that closely mimic those found in their natural counterpart. These new artificial lungs could potentially: 1) have surface areas and priming volumes that are a fraction of current technologies thereby decreasing device size and reducing the foreign body response; 2) contain blood flow networks in which cells and platelets experience pressures, shear stresses, and branching angles that copy those in the human lung thereby improving biocompatibility; 3) operate efficiently with room air, eliminating the need for gas cylinders and complications associated with hyperoxemia; 4) exhibit biomimetic hydraulic resistances, enabling operation with natural pressures and eliminating the need for blood pumps; and, 5) provide increased gas exchange capacity enabling respiratory support for active patients. This manuscript reviews recent research efforts in microfluidic artificial lungs targeted at achieving the advantages above, investigates the ultimate performance and scaling limits of these devices using a proven mathematical model, and discusses the future challenges that must be overcome in order for microfluidic artificial lungs to be applied in the clinic. If all of these promising advantages are realized and the remaining challenges are met, microfluidic artificial lungs could revolutionize the field of pulmonary rehabilitation.

Graphical abstract: The promise of microfluidic artificial lungs

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 15 Jul 2014, accepted on 29 Aug 2014 and first published on 29 Aug 2014

Article type: Tutorial Review
DOI: 10.1039/C4LC00828F
Author version
Download author version (PDF)
Lab Chip, 2014,14, 4122-4138

  •   Request permissions

    The promise of microfluidic artificial lungs

    J. A. Potkay, Lab Chip, 2014, 14, 4122
    DOI: 10.1039/C4LC00828F

Search articles by author