[Extracorporeal lung support procedures (ECMO/iLA)]

T Bein, T Müller, S Weber-Carstens
Pneumologie 2008, 62 (3): 137-42
The management of acute lung injury in adults requires specific therapeutic measures including techniques of extracorporeal lung support. In patients suffering from severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) with life-threatening hypoxaemia, a pump-driven, veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has been established. Recently, a pumpless extracorporeal lung support system was developed using an arterio-venous bypass into which a gas exchange membrane is integrated ("interventional lung assist" [iLA]). ILA provides effective CO2 elimination and a moderate improvement in oxygenation. In both techniques, an improvement in survival has not been demonstrated in prospective investigations. ECMO and iLA might be associated with serious complications (bleeding, ischaemia), thus further randomised prospective studies are warranted to elucidate specific indications. In patients with severe asthma or exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, iLA might represent an attractive rescue therapy in the future.

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