[Extracorporeal membranous oxygenation in severe infant pertussis: a case report]

E Couchot, O Paut, O Ghez, A Charpentier, F Ughetto
Annales Françaises D'anesthèsie et de Rèanimation 2009, 28 (1): 74-7
Pertussis is a leading cause of death from community infections in infant. Life-threatening clinical presentations of pertussis can associate multiple organ system failure with respiratory distress. The question of the optimal management of these severe forms of pertussis, in order to reduce the high mortality rate, is raised by the clinicians caring for such patients. We report the case of a 1 month infant who was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) for a severe pertussis. He presented with an acute respiratory distress syndrome, a severe pulmonary hypertension was treated initially with mechanical ventilation and nitric oxide. At day 4 (D4), a cardiogenic shock occurred and, despite epinephrine and norepinephrine infusion, fluid expansion, the hemodynamic condition worsened with two episodes of cardiac arrest. The child was then successfully resuscitated, and, facing the extreme hemodynamic instability, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) was considered. ECMO allowed epinephrine and norepinephrine to be progressively discontinued, and protective mechanical ventilation. ECMO withdrawal was possible at D9, with milrinone as the sole inotropic agent. Weaning from mechanical ventilation was possible on D15 and the total length of stay in PICU was 20days. While the analysis of the literature, through limited experiences on the use of ECMO in children with severe pertussis does not allow concluding definitively on the utility of ECMO in this situation, the contribution of ECMO in the favourable outcome for our patient was considerable. This is an argument, to our opinion, for considering ECMO in the management of those very instable patients.

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