Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation during double-lung transplantation: single center experience

Ling-feng Xu, Xin Li, Zhen Guo, Mei-yin Xu, Cheng-xin Gao, Jin-hong Zhu, Bing-yang Ji
Chinese Medical Journal 2010 February 5, 123 (3): 269-73

BACKGROUND: For patients with end-stage lung diseases, lung transplantation is the final therapeutic option. Sequential double-lung transplantation is recognized as an established procedure to avoid cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). But some of the sequential double-lung transplantations require CPB support during the surgical procedure for various reasons. However, conventional CPB may increase the risk of bleeding and early allograft dysfunction. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is more advantageous than conventional CPB during the perioperative period of transplantation. Replacing traditional CPB with ECMO is promising for those patients needing cardiopulmonary support during a sequential double-lung transplantation procedure. This study aimed to summarize the preliminary experience of ECMO practice in lung transplantation.

METHODS: Between November 2002 and October 2008, twelve patients with end-stage lung diseases undergoing sequential double-lung transplantation were subjected to ECMO during the surgical procedure. Eleven patients were prepared for the procedure via transverse thoracostomy (clamshell) and cannulated through the ascending aorta and right atrium for ECMO. The first patient who underwent bilateral thoracotomy for bilateral sequential lung transplantation required emergency ECMO via the femoral artery and vein during the second lung implantation. The Medtronic centrifugal pump and ECMO package (CB1V97R1, Medtronic, Inc., USA) were used for all of the patients.

RESULTS: During ECMO, the blood flow rate was set between 1.8 - 2.0 L x m(-2) x min(-1) to keep hemodynamic and oxygen saturation stable; colloid oncotic pressure was maintained at more than 18 mmHg with albumin and hematocrit (HCT) kept at 28% or more. Two patients died early in this series and the other 10 patients were weaned from ECMO successfully. The duration of ECMO was 1.38 - 67.00 hours, and postoperative intubation was 10.5 - 67.0 hours.

CONCLUSIONS: As an established technique of cardiopulmonary support, ECMO is helpful to keep hemodynamics stable, while reducing risk factors such as ischemia-reperfusion injury, anticoagulation requirement and systemic inflammatory response for sequential double-lung transplantation compared with conventional CPB.

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