JOURNAL ARTICLE
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ECMO for pulmonary rescue in an adult with amiodarone-induced toxicity.

Amiodarone is a highly effective antiarrhythmic agent. Unfortunately amiodarone-induced pulmonary toxicity is described for medium-long term therapy. We describe a case of a 65-year-old man admitted to our department for breathlessness and with a history of recurrent episodes of atrial fibrillation for which he had been receiving amiodarone (200 mg/day) since 2008. Despite diuretic therapy, along with aspirin, statins and antibiotics the patient continued to complain of severe dyspnea and had a moderate fever. Thus, diagnostic hypotheses different from acute cardiac failure were considered, in particular non-cardiogenic causes of pulmonary infiltrates. Following suspicion of amiodarone-induced pulmonary toxicity, the drug was discontinued and corticosteroid therapy was initiated. Due to the deterioration of the clinical picture, we proceeded to intubation. After few hours from intubation we were forced to institute a veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation due to the worsening of pulmonary function. The patient's clinical condition improved which allowed us to remove the ECMO after 15 days of treatment. Indications for use of ECMO have expanded considerably. To our knowledge this is the first successful, reported article of a veno-venous ECMO used to treat amiodarone-induced toxicity in an adult. In patients with severe but potentially reversible pulmonary toxicity caused by amiodarone, extracorporeal life support can maintain pulmonary function and vital organ perfusion at the expense of low morbidity, while allowing time for drug clearance.

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