Tubing failure during prolonged roller pump use: A laboratory study

Giles J. Peek, Kim Wong, Colin Morrison, Hilliary M. Killer, Richard K. Firmin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Little is known about the mechanical forces acting on extracorporeal circuit tubing with prolonged roller pump use during extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). We examined the time to tubing rupture of three different materials during actual roller pump use, mean and standard deviation (SD) (SD shown in parentheses): Tygone® (control) 243.7 h (175.4); LVA 121 h (14.3); and SRT 6.6 h (2.1). Failure times for both LVA and SRT were significantly different from the control (paired t-test, p = 0.02 and p < 0.001, respectively). The minimum failure times for Tygon and LVA were 99 and 101 h, respectively. We then examined Tygon under conditions of pure compression, demonstrating that even after 3.67 million compression cycles at full occlusion crack formation did not occur. If the tubing was over-occluded, cracks appeared within 24 h. Scanning electron microscopy of Tygon, which has been used during clinical ECMO, and the failure pattern during destruction testing demonstrate that shear stress and compression coexist during clinical ECMO. Use of under-occlusive pump settings could improve tubing life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-452
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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