Alberto Zanella, Luigi Castagna, Domenico Salerno, Vittorio Scaravilli, Salua Abd El Aziz El Sayed Deab, Federico Magni, Marco Giani, Silvia Mazzola, Mariangela Albertini, Nicolò Patroniti, Francesco Mantegazza, and Antonio Pesenti  Am. J. Resp. Crit. Care Med. Sep 15, 2015, vol. 192, no. 6: 719-726

Rationale: We developed an innovative, minimally invasive, highly efficient extracorporeal CO2 removal (ECCO2R) technique called respiratory electrodialysis (R-ED).

Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy of R-ED in controlling ventilation compared with conventional ECCO2R technology.

Methods: Five mechanically ventilated swine were connected to a custom-made circuit optimized for R-ED, consisting of a hemofilter, a membrane lung, and an electrodialysis cell. Electrodialysis regionally modulates blood electrolyte concentration to convert bicarbonate to CO2 before entering the membrane lung, enhancing membrane lung CO2 extraction. All animals underwent three repeated experimental sequences, consisting of four steps: baseline (1 h), conventional ECCO2R (2 h), R-ED (2 h), and final NO-ECCO2R (1 h). Blood and gas flow were 250 ml/min and 10 L/min, respectively. Tidal volume was set at 8 ml/kg, and respiratory rate was adjusted to maintain arterial Pco2 at 50 mm Hg.

Measurements and Main Results: During R-ED, chloride and H+ concentration increased in blood entering the membrane lung, almost doubling CO2 extraction compared with ECCO2R (112 ± 6 vs. 64 ± 5 ml/min, P < 0.001). Compared with baseline, R-ED and ECCO2R reduced minute ventilation by 50% and 27%, respectively. Systemic arterial gas analyses remained stable during the experimental phases. No major complication occurred, but there was an increase in creatinine level.

Conclusions: In this first in vivo application, we proved electrodialysis feasible and effective in increasing membrane lung CO2 extraction. R-ED was more effective than conventional ECCO2R technology in controlling ventilation. Further studies are warranted to assess the safety profile of R-ED, especially regarding kidney function.

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