JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation to support whole-lung lavage in pulmonary alveolar proteinosis: salvage of the drowned lungs.

Pulmonary alveolar proteinosis is a rare lung disease characterized by accumulation of lipoproteinaceous material within the alveoli. Therapeutic whole-lung lavage (WLL) under general anesthesia is the standard treatment in patients with progressive symptomatic disease. Severe hypoxemic respiratory failure is uncommon, yet when present poses a technical challenge to performing WLL without further compromising respiratory status. Rarely, hyperbaric chamber or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has been utilized to perform WLL to manage severe hypoxemia, with venovenous ECMO being used more often. We present a case of hypoxemic and hypercarbic respiratory failure from pulmonary alveolar proteinosis successfully managed by placing the patient on venoarterial ECMO to facilitate the performance of bilateral WLL.

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