Extracorporeal Life Support (ECLS) may be necessary for the survival of a patient with severe asthma. With proper asthma management it should only be needed rarely.


Indications for ECLS - all of the following:

(1) severe asthma in the intensive care unit (ICU)

(2) one or more of the following:

(2a) severe hypercapnia (PaCO2 > 100 mm Hg)

(2b) severe hypoxemia

(2c) severe acidosis with arterial pH <= 7

(2d) shock

(3) refractory to optimum and maximum medical management including mechanical ventilation


Many patients only require 1 to 4 days of ECLS.



(1) Complications are relatively common.

(2) ECLS is expensive and labor-intensive.


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