Whole blood pumping with a microthrottle pump
Davies, M. J.
We have previously reported that microthrottle pumps (MTPs) display the capacity to pump solid phase suspensions such as polystyrene beads which prove challenging to most microfluidic pumps. In this paper we report employing a linear microthrottle pump (LMTP) to pump whole, undiluted, anticoagulated, human venous blood at 200 μl min−1 with minimal erythrocyte lysis and no observed pump blockage. LMTPs are particularly well suited to particle suspension transport by virtue of their relatively unimpeded internal flow-path. Micropumping of whole blood represents a rigorous real-world test of cell suspension transport given blood’s high cell content by volume and erythrocytes’ relative fragility. A modification of the standard Drabkin method and its validation to spectrophotometrically quantify low levels of erythrocyte lysis by hemoglobin release is also reported. Erythrocyte lysis rates resulting from transport via LMTP are determined to be below one cell in 500 at a pumping rate of 102 μl min−1.