Optimizing venous drainage using an ultrasonic flow probe on the venous line

Joshua L. Walker, Haven A. Young, D. Scott Lawson, S. Adil Husain, John H. Calhoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The use of smaller cannulae for minimally invasive surgery techniques and/or aggressive miniaturization of the cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) circuitry has necessitated the need to augment venous drainage to achieve adequate flow rates. Vacuum assisted venous drainage (VAVD) has become the dominant method to augment venous drainage. VAVD, however, has been associated with a number of known side effects including increased transmission of gaseous microemboli to the patient, venous line chatter, and increased arterial to venous shunts in the circuit. Historically, our practice has been to monitor the arterial output flow rate and to monitor VAVD by observing venous line chatter and changes in the venous reservoir level. In 2008 our pediatric cardiothoracic service began monitoring venous line flow rates by using a second ultrasonic flow probe placed on the venous line. After 12 months, our staff perfusionists reviewed the impact of monitoring venous line flow rates on VAVD and its known side effects on daily clinical practice. When monitoring venous line flow rates, empiric observation revealed that less overall vacuum pressure was needed for our CPB cases. This novel approach to monitoring venous drainage has aided us in providing optimal vacuum levels and therefore, may reduce some of the known side effects experienced with excessive VAVD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-161
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Extra-Corporeal Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Ultrasound flow probe
  • Vacuum assisted venous drainage
  • Venous drainage
  • Venous/arterial flow mismatching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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