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Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2013 Aug;10(4):307-14. doi: 10.1513/AnnalsATS.201301-021OC.

Pilot study of extracorporeal carbon dioxide removal to facilitate extubation and ambulation in exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Department of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons/New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY 10032, USA.



Acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) requiring invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Extracorporeal carbon dioxide removal (ECCO₂R) may facilitate extubation and ambulation in these patients and potentially improve outcomes.


We assessed the feasibility of achieving early extubation and ambulation in subjects requiring IMV for exacerbations of COPD using single-site ECCO₂R.


Five subjects with exacerbations of COPD with uncompensated hypercapnia requiring IMV were enrolled in this single-center, prospective, feasibility trial using a protocol of ECCO₂R, extubation, and physical rehabilitation. The primary endpoint was extubation within 72 hours of starting ECCO₂R.


Mean preintubation pH and PaCO₂ were 7.23 ± 0.05 and 81.6 ± 15.9 mm Hg, respectively. All subjects met the primary endpoint (median duration, 4 h; range, 1.5-21.5 h). Mean duration of extracorporeal support was 193.0 ± 76.5 hours. Mean time to ambulation after extracorporeal initiation was 29.4 ± 12.6 hours. Mean maximal ambulation on extracorporeal support was 302 feet (range, 70-600). Four subjects were discharged home, and one underwent planned lung transplantation. Two minor bleeding complications occurred. There were no complications from mobilization on extracorporeal support.


ECCO₂R facilitates early extubation and ambulation in exacerbations of COPD requiring IMV and has the potential to serve as a new paradigm for the management of a select group of patients. Rigorous clinical trials are needed to corroborate these results and to investigate the effect on long-term outcomes and cost effectiveness over conventional management.

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