Five-year results of 219 consecutive patients treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for refractory postoperative cardiogenic shock

Nicolas Doll, Bob Kiaii, Michael Borger, Jan Bucerius, Klaus Krämer, Dierk V Schmitt, Thomas Walther, Friedrich W Mohr
Annals of Thoracic Surgery 2004, 77 (1): 151-7; discussion 157

BACKGROUND: Postcardiotomy cardiogenic shock occurs in approximately 1% of patients. We prospectively evaluated the early and long-term outcome as well as predictors of survival when using temporary extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support.

METHODS: During 5 years 219 of 18150 patients (1.2%) undergoing cardiac surgery (coronary artery bypass grafting, n = 119; aortic valve replacement, n = 24; coronary artery bypass grafting and aortic valve replacement, n = 21; coronary artery bypass grafting and mitral valve replacement, n = 11; other procedures, n = 44) required temporary postoperative ECMO support. The ECMO implantation was performed through the femoral vessels or through the right atrium and ascending aorta. Additional intraaortic balloon counterpulsation was employed in 144 patients to improve coronary blood flow.

RESULTS: Mean duration of ECMO support was 2.8 +/- 2.2 days. One hundred thirty-four patients (60%) were successfully weaned from ECMO. Of these, 52 patients (24%) were discharged from the hospital after 29.9 +/- 24 days. The main cause of death was myocardial failure. Five-year follow-up is 96% complete; 37 patients (74%) were alive with reasonable exercise capacity.

CONCLUSIONS: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is an acceptable technique for short-term treatment of refractory postoperative low cardiac output. It can save the lives of a group of very high risk patients.

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