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Online ISSN 1827-1596
Braune S. A., Kluge S.
Department of Intensive Care Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
When patients with chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) and acute on chronic respiratory insufficiency fail non-invasive ventilation (NIV) they are commonly intubated and treated with invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) to ensure adequate gas exchange. However, IMV itself is associated with considerable complications which can aggravate any pre-existing lung disease and contribute to morbidity and mortality. When lung protective ventilation fails or cannot be maintained, full or partial extracorporeal lung assist (ECLA) is increasingly used to provide oxygenation and/or carbon dioxide removal. This can rescue patients’ lives, help resting their lungs until recovery or transplantation or even avoiding intubation and IMV in the first place. Recent technological improvements of extracorporeal devices have made ECLA more efficient and safe. This article discusses different types of ECLA, their potential indications in patients with COPD as well as the preliminary clinical evidence for their effectiveness and safety.