Journal Information
Download PDF
More article options
Clinical Letter
Full text access
Available online 4 July 2024
Use of Extracorporeal Carbon Dioxide Removal Therapy in an Intermediate Respiratory Care Unit
Esther Barberoa,
Corresponding author

Corresponding author.
, Antonio Gomisb, David Pestañac
a Intermediate Respiratory Care Unit, Respiratory Service, Ramón y Cajal University Hospital, IRYCIS, School of Medicina-Alcalá de Henares University, Madrid, Spain
b Nephrolophy Service, Ramón y Cajal Hospital, Ramón y Cajal University Hospital, IRYCIS, School of Medicina-Alcalá de Henares University, Madrid, Spain
c Anaesthesia and Resuscitation Service, Ramón y Cajal University Hospital, IRYCIS, School of Medicina-Alcalá de Henares University, Madrid, Spain
This item has received
Article information
Full Text
Download PDF
Figures (1)
Full Text
To the Director,

Extracorporeal carbon dioxide removal (ECCO2R) is an advanced form of life support that is mostly used in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and severe acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma.1,2 For the former, ECCO2R therapy allows ultra-protective lung ventilation and reduces ventilator-induced lung injury. For the latter, ECCO2R therapy may be applied to prevent intubation in patients at risk of non-invasive ventilation (NIV) failure.3,4 Due to the need for venous cannulation and complexity of care, this technique is mainly used in Intensive Care Units (ICU).5 We present a case of successful treatment with a peristaltic pump ECCO2R in an Intermediate Respiratory Care Unit (IRCU).

A 67-year-old male with a history of progressive pulmonary fibrosis after COVID-19 (Fig. 1), referred for evaluation for lung transplant at last pneumology follow-up, was admitted to the hospital because of severe respiratory insufficiency. His medical record included chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (in remission), pulmonary embolism and atrial fibrillation on anticoagulation. He presented with a recent onset of dyspnoea, cough with purulent sputum, fever and increased oxygen requirement. Blood pressure was 122/65mmHg, pulse 100bpm, SaO2/FiO2 112, and a respiratory rate of 40bpm with scattered bilateral crackles. Blood gases showed respiratory acidosis (pH 7.27, pCO2 116mmHg, pO2 38mmHg, HCO3 53.3mM/L). A chest X-ray revealed a known interstitial pulmonary infiltrate without significant changes compared to his previous one. Laboratory studies showed an increased C-reactive protein (136.0mg/L), leukocytosis (14.70×10^3/μl), and neutrophilia (10.90×10^3/μl). Since the patient had a do-not-intubate order, he was admitted to the IRCU.

Fig. 1.

Chest CT scan of the patient before admission.


NIV was started but, after 24h, the condition of the patient did not improve. Faced with this situation of non-invasive measures failure in a patient pending evaluation for lung transplant with a potentially reversible acute worsening due to an infectious disease as the most likely cause, the patient was connected to an ECCO2R device (Prismalung+, Baxter) and empirical antibiotic treatment was started. Blood flow was kept between 250 and 300ml/min and gas flow (oxygen) at 6–8L/min, which was well tolerated by the patient, being able to withdraw NIV and deescalate to high-flow and finally conventional nasal cannulas. At the beginning of treatment ABG showed pH 7.4, pCO2 93mmHg, pO2 88mmHg and HCO3 57.6mM/L (PaO2/FiO2 110), with persisting tachypnea (40bpm) and work of breathing. After 24h, ABG improved to pH 7.43, pCO2 60mmHg, pO2 54mmHg, HCO3 39.8mmHg with respiratory rate around 20bpm, PaO2/FiO2 135 and no dyspnoea. As the patient's clinical condition improved following medical treatment, it was possible to withdraw ECCO2R after 6 days and the patient was discharged home.

The use of ECCO2R has been reported in the ICU setting. This case represents the potential use of ECCO2R in an IRCU in reversible situations refractory to non-invasive measures. Further research is required to determine the best way to implement this therapy in IRCU, to maximize its benefits while minimizing any potential risks.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Conflicts of interest

Esther Barbero Ph.D. None.

Antonio Gomis M.D. Has received lectures honoraria from Baxter International Inc., Deerfield, Illinois.

David Pestaña Ph.D. Has received honoraria from Baxter International Inc. Baxter International Inc., Deerfield, Illinois; and B. Braun Medical S.A.

Artificial intelligence involvement

Help of any artificial intelligence software or tool has not been use for this publication.

A. Morelli, L. Del Sorbo, A. Pesenti, V.M. Ranieri, E. Fan.
Extracorporeal carbon dioxide removal (ECCO2R) in patients with acute respiratory failure.
Intensive Care Med, 43 (2017), pp. 519-530
B.J. Bromberger, C. Agerstrand, D. Abrams, A. Serra, D. Apsel, Y. Tipograf, et al.
Extracorporeal carbon dioxide removal in the treatment of status asthmaticus.
Crit Care Med, 48 (2020), pp. e1226-e1231
L. Del Sorbo, L. Pisani, C. Filippini, V. Fanelli, L. Fasano, P. Terragni, et al.
Extracorporeal CO2 removal in hypercapnic patients at risk of noninvasive ventilation failure: a matched cohort study with historical control.
Crit Care Med, 43 (2015), pp. 120-127
A. Combes, V. Fanelli, T. Pham, V.M. Ranieri.
European Society of Intensive Care Medicine Trials Group and the “Strategy of ultra-protective lung ventilation with extracorporeal CO2 removal for new-onset moderate to severe ARDS” (SUPERNOVA) investigators. Feasibility and safety of extracorporeal CO2 removal to enhance protective ventilation in acute respiratory distress syndrome: the SUPERNOVA study.
Intensive Care Med, 45 (2019), pp. 592-600
S. Braune, H. Burchardi, M. Engel, A. Nierhaus, H. Ebelt, M. Metschke, et al.
The use of extracorporeal carbon dioxide removal to avoid intubation in patients failing non-invasive ventilation – a cost analysis.
BMC Anesthesiol, 15 (2015), pp. 160
Archivos de Bronconeumología
Article options

Are you a health professional able to prescribe or dispense drugs?