Veno-venous Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation for Respiratory Failure in COVID-19 Patients: Early Experience From a Major Academic Medical Center in North America

Asishana A. Osho, Philicia Moonsamy, Kathryn A. Hibbert, Kenneth T. Shelton, John M. Trahanas, Rizwan Q. Attia, Jordan P. Bloom, Michael T. Onwugbufor, David A. D'Alessandro, Mauricio A. Villavicencio, Thoralf M. Sundt, Jerome C. Crowley, Yuval Raz, Masaki Funamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

AND BACKGROUND DATA: VV ECMO can be utilized as an advanced therapy in select patients with COVID-19 respiratory failure refractory to traditional critical care management and optimal mechanical ventilation. Anticipating a need for such therapies during the pandemic, our center created a targeted protocol for ECMO therapy in COVID-19 patients that allows us to provide this life-saving therapy to our sickest patients without overburdening already stretched resources or excessively exposing healthcare staff to infection risk. METHODS: As a major regional referral program, we used the framework of our well-established ECMO service-line to outline specific team structures, modified patient eligibility criteria, cannulation strategies, and management protocols for the COVID-19 ECMO program. RESULTS: During the first month of the COVID-19 outbreak in Massachusetts, 6 patients were placed on VV ECMO for refractory hypoxemic respiratory failure. The median (interquartile range) age was 47 years (43-53) with most patients being male (83%) and obese (67%). All cannulations were performed at the bedside in the intensive care unit in patients who had undergone a trial of rescue therapies for acute respiratory distress syndrome including lung protective ventilation, paralysis, prone positioning, and inhaled nitric oxide. At the time of this report, 83% (5/6) of the patients are still alive with 1 death on ECMO, attributed to hemorrhagic stroke. 67% of patients (4/6) have been successfully decannulated, including 2 that have been successfully extubated and one who was discharged from the hospital. The median duration of VV ECMO therapy for patients who have been decannulated is 12 days (4-18 days). CONCLUSIONS: This is 1 the first case series describing VV ECMO outcomes in COVID-19 patients. Our initial data suggest that VV ECMO can be successfully utilized in appropriately selected COVID-19 patients with advanced respiratory failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e75-e78
JournalAnnals of Surgery
Volume272
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020

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