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Arch Bronconeumol. 2010 Oct;46(10):531-7. doi: 10.1016/j.arbres.2010.05.005. Epub 2010 Jun 17.

[Extracorporeal lung assist in severe respiratory failure and ARDS. Current situation and clinical applications].

[Article in Spanish]

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Instituto del Tórax, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Universidad de Barcelona, CIBER de enfermedades respiratorias CIBERES, España.


Despite improvements in ventilation support techniques, lung protection strategies, and the application of new support treatment, acute respiratory distress syndrome continues to have a high mortality rate. Many strategies and treatments for this syndrome have been investigated over the last few year. However, the only therapeutic measure that has systematically shown to be able to improve survival is that of low volume lung protective ventilation. Thus, using a low tidal volume prevents added lung damage by the same mechanical ventilation that is essential for life support. In this context, the use of extracorporeal lung assist systems is considered an exceptional use rescue treatment in extreme cases. On the other hand, it could be a potentially useful complementary method for an ultra-protective ventilation strategy, that is, by using even lower tidal volumes. The currently available extracorporeal lung assist systems are described in this article, including high flow systems such as traditional extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, CO₂ removal systems (interventional lung assist or iLA, with or without associated centrifugal pumps), and the new low flow and less invasive systems under development. The aim of this review is to update the latest available clinical and experimental data, the indications for these devices in adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and their potential indications in other clinical situations, such as the bridge to lung transplantation, multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, or COPD.

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