The hemoglobin-vesicle (HbV) is an artificial oxygen carrier encapsulating a concentrated hemoglobin solution in a phospholipid vesicle (liposome). During or after transporting oxygen, macrophages capture HbVs in the reticuloendothelial system (RES) with an approximate circulation half-life of 3 days. Animal studies show transient splenohepatomegaly after large doses, but HbVs were completely degraded, and the components were excreted in a few weeks. If a blood substitute is used for emergency use until red blood cell transfusion becomes available or for temporary use such as a priming fluid for an extracorporeal circuit, then one option would be to remove HbVs from the circulating blood without waiting a few weeks for removal by the RES. Using a mixture of beagle dog whole blood and HbV, we tested the separation of HbV using a centrifugal Fresenius cell separator and an ultrafiltration system. The cell separator system separated the layers of blood cell components from the HbV-containing plasma layer by centrifugal force, and then the HbV was removed from plasma phase by the ultrafiltration system. The HbVs (250-280nm) are larger than plasma proteins (<22nm diameter) but smaller than blood cell components (>3μm). The size of HbVs is advantageous to be separated from the original blood components, and the separated blood components can be returned to circulation.
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