Venoarterial Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation for Refractory Cardiogenic Shock in Elderly Patients: Trends in Application and Outcome From the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) Registry

Roberto Lorusso, Sandro Gelsomino, Orlando Parise, Priya Mendiratta, Parthak Prodhan, Peter Rycus, Graeme MacLaren, Thomas V Brogan, Yih-Sharng Chen, Jos Maessen, Xiaotong Hou, Ravi R Thiagarajan
Annals of Thoracic Surgery 2017, 104 (1): 62-69

BACKGROUND: Venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) for refractory cardiogenic shock (RCS) is increasingly used in adult patients, but age represents a controversial factor in this setting.

METHODS: Data from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization registry was analyzed to assess in-hospital survival of elderly patients (≥70 years of age) undergoing VA-ECMO for RCS from 1992 to 2015. In-hospital survival and complications for elderly patients were compared with data in younger adults (≥18 to <70 years of age) supported with VA-ECMO during the same time period for similar indications.

RESULTS: The mean age of the patient cohort (n = 5,408) was 53.0 ± 15.7 years (range, 18 to 91 years). The elderly group included 735 patients (13.6%), with a mean age of 75.2 ± 4.4 years. In the elderly group, pre-ECMO cardiac procedures were performed in 134 cases (18.9%), and 2.2% received VA-ECMO for postcardiotomy support compared with 0.7% in the younger cohort. The mean duration of VA-ECMO in the elderly group was 101 ± 91 h compared with 138 ± 146 h in the younger group (p < 0.001). Overall, survival to hospital discharge for the entire adult cohort was 41.4% (2,240 of 5,408), with 30.5% (224 of 735) in the elderly patient group and 43.1% (2,016 of 4,673) in the younger patient group (p < 0.001). Elderly patients had a higher rate of multiorgan failure. At multivariable analysis age represented an independent negative predictor of in-hospital survival.

CONCLUSIONS: Based on the acceptable survival to hospital discharge in our study, older age alone should not represent an absolute contraindication when considering VA-ECMO support for RCS.

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