Objective: Pump-driven extracorporeal gas exchange systems have been advocated in patients suffering from severe acute respiratory distress syndrome who are at risk for life-threatening hypoxemia and/or hypercapnia. This requires extended technical and staff support.
Design: We report retrospectively our experience with a new pumpless extracorporeal interventional lung assist (iLA) establishing an arteriovenous shunt as the driving pressure.
Setting: University hospital.
Patients: Ninety patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Interventions: Interventional lung assist was inserted in 90 patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Measurements and main results: Oxygenation improvement, carbon dioxide elimination, hemodynamic variables, and the amount of vasopressor substitution were reported before, 2 hrs after, and 24 hrs after implementation of the system. Interventional lung assist led to an acute and moderate increase in arterial oxygenation (Pao2/Fio2 ratio 2 hrs after initiation of iLA [median and interquartile range], 82 mm Hg [64-103]) compared with pre-iLA (58 mm Hg [47-78], p < .05). Oxygenation continued to improve for 24 hrs after implementation (101 mm Hg [74-142], p < .05). Hypercapnia was promptly and markedly reversed by iLA within 2 hrs (Paco2, 36 mm Hg [30-44]) in comparison with before (60 mm Hg [48-80], p < .05], which allowed a less aggressive ventilation. For hemodynamic stability, all patients received continuous norepinephrine infusion. The incidence of complications was 24.4%, mostly due to ischemia in a lower limb. Thirty-seven of 90 patients survived, creating a lower mortality rate than expected from the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score.
Conclusions: Interventional lung assist might provide a sufficient rescue measure with easy handling properties and low cost in patients with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome and persistent hypoxia/hypercapnia.