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    Acute respiratory failure (when the lungs do not work effectively) is a life-threatening condition. It can cause a person's blood to have abnormally low levels of oxygen (hypoxia) or abnormally high levels of carbon dioxide (hypercapnia), or both.

    In this procedure, blood is taken from the circulation out of the body (extracorporeal). It is then passed across a synthetic membrane that allows some of the carbon dioxide to be removed. The aim of the procedure is to lower carbon dioxide levels in the blood independently of the lungs.