Background Given substantial advances in venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) technology, long-term support is increasingly feasible. Although the benefits of short-term ECMO as a bridge to recovery in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are well described, the utility and outcomes of long-term support remain unclear. Methods Patients requiring ECMO for ARDS between January 2009 and November 2012 were retrospectively reviewed and analyzed separately for those requiring ECMO support for less than 3 weeks or for 3 weeks or longer. Demographic factors, ECMO variables, and outcomes were assessed. Results Fifty-five patients with ARDS received ECMO during the study period, with 11 patients requiring long-term ECMO support and a median duration of 36 (interquartile range: 24 to 68) days. Recovery was the initial goal in all patients. Pre-ECMO mechanical ventilatory support, indices of disease severity, and the ECMO cannulation strategy were similar between the two groups. Eight (73%) patients receiving long-term support were bridged to recovery, and 1 patient was bridged to transplantation after a refractory course. Eight (73%) patients receiving long-term support and 25 (57%) patients receiving short-term support survived to 30 days and hospital discharge. Conclusions Previously, long-term ECMO support was thought to be associated with unfavorable outcomes. This study, however, may provide support for the efficacy of ECMO support even for 3 weeks or more as a bridge to recovery or transplantation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine