Singapore-based National University Hospital (NUH) and ALung Technologies have jointly commenced a new clinical study of the Hemolung Respiratory Assist System (RAS) to provide ECCO2R in patients with moderate-to-severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

The pilot study is being conducted to assess the ability of low-flow ECCO2R provided by the Hemolung RAS to facilitate an ultra-protective ventilation bundle of care.

The study has been designed to demonstrate that this bundle of care can be safely applied while avoiding the negative effects of high carbon dioxide levels (hypercapnia) caused by reduced ventilation volumes.

NUH respiratory and critical care medicine division intensivist and consultant Dr Matthew Cove and his colleagues Dr Zudin Puthucheary and Dr Jason Phua will carry out the pilot study.

Dr Cove said: "To date, only one major intervention has consistently shown reduced mortality in ARDS patients – low tidal volume ventilation, referred to as lung protective ventilation.

"Despite these advancements, the optimal volume which protects the injured lung is not yet known. However, mounting evidence suggests that lower tidal volumes and plateau pressures than those we currently use, a strategy called ultra-protective ventilation, may be even more effective."

Earlier studies of ECCO2R in ARDS patients have demonstrated positive outcomes, but were limited in part by the capabilities of the previously available devices.