The roles of the large membrane surface of the oxygenator and the high mechanical shear stress (HMSS) of the pump in the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) circuit were examined under a pediatric support setting. A clinical centrifugal pump and a pediatric oxygenator were used to construct the ECMO circuit. An identical circuit without the oxygenator was constructed for comparison. Fresh human blood was circulated in the two circuits for 4 hours under the identical pump speed and flow. Blood samples were collected hourly for blood damage assessment, including platelet activation, generation of platelet-derived microparticles (PDMP), losses of key platelet hemostasis receptors (glycoprotein (GP) Ibα (GPIbα) and GPVI), and high molecular weight multimers (HMWM) of von Willebrand factor (VWF) and plasma free hemoglobin (PFH). Platelet adhesion on fibrinogen, VWF, and collagen was further examined. The levels of platelet activation and generation of PDMP and PFH exhibited an increasing trend with circulation time while the expression levels of GPIbα and GPVI receptors on the platelet surface decreased. Correspondingly, the platelets in the blood samples exhibited increased adhesion capacity to fibrinogen and decreased adhesion capacities on VWF and collagen with circulation time. Loss of HMWM of VWF occurred in both circuits. No statistically significant differences were found in all the measured parameters for blood damage and platelet adhesion function between the two circuits. The results indicate that HMSS from the pump played a dominant role in blood damage associated with ECMO and the impact of the large surface of the oxygenator on blood damage was insignificant. © 2020 International Center for Artificial Organ and Transplantation (ICAOT) and Wiley Periodicals, Inc.