Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Steven Santana

Reader 2

Chuck Taylor

Reader 3

Joseph Beardslee

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© 2024 Mai Dang


Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) is a form of cardiopulmonary life support in which blood is removed from the human body, adjusted, and reinfused into vascular circulation. In the past two decades, improvements in membrane packaging have elevated ECMO to an invaluable technology for the care of patients with acute respiratory distress refractory to other methods of management. However, ECMO remains injurious, expensive, and resource intensive. To alleviate resource burden, Extracorporeal Carbon Dioxide Removal (ECCO2R) is gaining clinical appeal as a less intensive technology for the treatment of respiratory distress with accompanying hypercapnia. Preliminary clinical trials have shown promising outcomes for patients who receive ECCO2R, but the technology remains inaccessible as only one system has achieved FDA approval thus far (ALung Technologies’ Hemolung®). In this proposal, I discuss the ECCO2R circuitry, carbon dioxide physiology, and theorize that the lack of developmental success so far can partially be attributed towards ECCO2R systems being built on membrane lungs and circuitry that were designed for oxygenation. Carbon dioxide has a larger diffusive capacity than oxygen, making removal possible at blood flow rates much lower than those used for ECMO. Thus, it would be beneficial to reassess ECMO membrane lungs, which are designed with geometry that do not prevent thrombosis at low flow. Additionally, carbon dioxide is primarily stored as bicarbonate in the blood, so the inclusion of strategies for converting bicarbonate ions into dissolved CO2 will greatly improve ECCO2R's capacity. This thesis proposes a series of investigations to customize circuit components for ECCO2R, leading towards development of an extracorporeal life support system specialized in carbon dioxide removal.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.