Living without breathing (extrapulmonary ventilation) has been a research objective of many groups throughout the last century and is still pursued. A primary motivation behind this research is to increase survivability of reversible pulmonary failure caused by pathologies and dysfunctions such as avian flu, ARDS, SARS, pulmonary embolism, and bacterial pneumonia. The modern specter of aerosolized bioterrorism that may result in reversible pulmonary failure on a mass scale is also an impetus for this research. Current clinical technology uses extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and percutaneous cardiopulmonary support; however, additional therapies are required because these techniques are associated with significant complications. The purpose of this work is to investigate new methods of extrapulmonary ventilation.

The IBL and the Borden Lab at the University of Colorado-Boulder are collaborating on this project.



Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ecmo) is the current state-of-the art therapy for oxygenating blood of an individual with reversible pulmonary failure. Several serious complications are associated with ecmo which makes an alternative therapy desirable.

Image by Van Meurs, K, Lally, KP, Peek, G, Zwischenberger, Extracorporeal Life Support Organization, Ann Arbor 2005. [CC-BY-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons