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Apnoeic oxygenation (AO) combined with extracorporeal CO2 removal (ECCO2R), using venovenous perfusion across a membrane area of 0.1 m2 has been shown to be feasible in six healthy anaesthetized rabbits. In a further twelve rabbits, ECCO2R has been randomly compared with conventional mechanical ventilation (CMV) following saline lavage to induce respiratory failure. Blood gases were maintained for up to 6 h within the same range (PaO2 = 8-20 kPa, PaCO2 = 4-6 kPa) in two groups of six by varying airway pressures and the oxygen fraction delivered either to the membrane lung (ECCO2R group) or to the ventilator (CMV group). The influence of single hourly sustained inflations (SI) on oxygenation was studied. ECCO2R subjects remained stable and survived. CMV subjects deteriorated and had 80% mortality. Hyaline membranes were absent from ECCO2R subjects and present in all CMV subjects. The response to SI suggests that a lung volume recruitment is maintained during AO for up to 1 h but is ineffective during CMV.

Original publication




Journal article


Intensive Care Med

Publication Date





184 - 191


Animals, Blood Gas Analysis, Carbon Dioxide, Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, Humans, Hyaline Membrane Disease, Infant, Newborn, Prospective Studies, Rabbits, Random Allocation, Respiration, Artificial