Laboratory testing of femoral venous cannulae: Effect of size, position and negative pressure on flow

Mark Kurusz, Donald J. Deyo, Alina D. Sholar, Weike Tao, Joseph B. Zwischenberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Femoral venous cannulae (17-28 French) were tested to compare flows obtained by their placement in a simulated inferior vena cava (IVC) or right atrium (RA) and by varying drainage pressures using gravity siphon drainage or a centrifugal pump in the venous line. The circuit consisted of conventional tubing and equipment including a segment of thin-walled latex tubing to simulate the IVC connected to a flexible reservoir to simulate the RA. The test fluid was a 40% glycerin solution. Flow was measured at height differentials of 30-60 cm (cannula-to-inlet of hard-shell venous reservoir) and with a -10 to -80 mmHg negative pressure created by the centrifugal pump. A roller pump returned the test fluid to a flexible bag to maintain a filling pressure of 0-1 mmHg. Flow increased modestly with an increasing height differential. When negative pressure was applied with the centrifugal pump, flow increased 10% and 18% (IVC and RA positions, respectively) compared to gravity siphon drainage conditions. There also was a tendency for flow to plateau or cease when the centrifugal pump was used at higher levels of negative pressure or when larger cannulae were used. We conclude: (1) position of smaller cannulae in the RA yield better flows than when the cannulae are larger and placed in the IVC; (2) smaller-sized cannulae are capable of achieving higher flows when the centrifugal pump is used; (3) cannulae must be properly positioned to achieve maximum flow, (4) the centrifugal pump will augment flow, but should be regulated to avoid extreme negative pressures; and (5) cannula design has no demonstrable effect on flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-387
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Safety Research
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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