Venoarterial versus venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in congenital diaphragmatic hernia: the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization Registry, 1990-1999

R A Dimmitt, R L Moss, W D Rhine, W E Benitz, M C Henry, K P Vanmeurs
Journal of Pediatric Surgery 2001, 36 (8): 1199-204

BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: Venoarterial (VA) extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) traditionally has been the mode of support used in congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). A few studies report success using venovenous (VV) ECMO. The purpose of this study is to compare outcomes in CDH patients treated with VA and VV.

METHODS: The authors queried the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization Registry for newborns with CDH treated with ECMO from January 1, 1990 through December 31, 1999. They analyzed the pre-ECMO data, ECMO course, and complications.

RESULTS: VA was utilized in 2,257 (86%) and VV in 371 (14%) patients. The pre-ECMO status was similar, with greater use of nitric oxide, surfactant, and pressors in VV. Survival rate was similar (58.4% for VV and 52.2% for VA, P =.057). VA was associated with more seizures (12.3% v 6.7%, P =.0024) and cerebral infarction (10.5% v 6.7%, P =.03). Sixty-four treatments were converted from VV to VA (VV-->VA). Survival rate in VV-->VA was not significantly different than VA (43.8% v 52.2%, respectively; P =.23). VV-->VA and VA patients had similar neurologic complications.

CONCLUSIONS: CDH patients treated with VV and VA have similar survival rates. VA had more neurologic complications. The authors identified no disadvantage to the use of VV as an initial mode of ECMO for CDH, although some infants may need conversion to VA.

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