A microfluidic device for continuous, real time blood plasma separation
A microfluidic device for continuous, real time blood plasma separation is introduced. The principle of the blood plasma separation from blood cells is supported by the Zweifach-Fung effect and was experimentally demonstrated using simple microchannels. The blood plasma separation device is composed of a blood inlet, a bifurcating region which leads to a purified plasma outlet, and a concentrated blood cell outlet. It was designed to separate blood plasma from an initial blood sample of up to 45% inlet hematocrit (volume percentage of cells). The microfluidic network was designed using an analogous electrical circuit, as well as analytical and numerical studies. The functionality of this device was demonstrated using defibrinated sheep blood. During 30 minutes of continuous blood infusion through the device, all the erythrocytes (red blood cells) traveled through the device toward the concentrated blood outlet while only the plasma was separated at the bifurcating regions and flowed towards the plasma outlet. The device has been operated continuously without any clogging or hemolysis of cells. The experimentally determined plasma selectivity with respect to blood hematocrit level was almost 100% regardless of the inlet hematocrit. The total plasma separation volume percent varied from 15% to 25% with increasing inlet hematocrit. Due to the device's simple structure and control mechanism, this microdevice is expected to be used for highly efficient continuous, real time cell-free blood plasma separation from blood samples for use in lab on a chip applications.