Artificial lungs: A new inspiration

Joseph B. Zwischenberger, Scott K. Alpard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


An estimated 16 million Americans are afflicted with some degree of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), accounting for 100,000 deaths per year. The only current treatment for chronic irreversible pulmonary failure is lung transplantation. Since the widespread success of single and double lung transplantation in the early 1990s, demand for donor lungs has steadily outgrown the supply. Unlike dialysis, which functions as a bridge to renal transplantation, or a ventricular assist device (VAD), which serves as a bridge to cardiac transplantation, no suitable bridge to lung transplantation exists. The current methods for supporting patients with lung disease, however, are not adequqte or efficient enough to act as a bridge to transplantation. Although occasionally successful as a bridge to transplant, ECMO requires multiple transfusions and is complex, labor-intensive, time-limited, costly, non-ambulatory and prone to infection. Intravenacaval devices, such as the intravascular oxygenator (IVOX) and the intravenous membrane oxygenator (IMO), are surface area limited and currently provide inadequate gas exchange to function as a bridge-to-recovery or transplant. A successful artificial lung could realize a substantial clinical impact as a bridge to lung transplantation, a support device immediately post-lung transplant, and as rescue and/or supplement to mechanical ventilation during the treatment of severe respiratory failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-268
Number of pages16
JournalPerfusion (United Kingdom)
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Safety Research
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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