Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third-largest cause of mortality in the US. If you have COPD and experience an acute flare-up, your quality of life will suffer, and you’re more likely to die. In the critical care unit, medication and mechanical ventilation are used to treat acute exacerbations of COPD. When compared to invasive mechanical ventilation, noninvasive mechanical ventilation has significantly improved COPD results and reduced morbidity and death. 

Extracorporeal carbon dioxide removal is a new technique being investigated to minimise the requirement for ventilatory support in patients with acute ventilatory failure caused by COPD exacerbation.