Right Atrial Cannulation via Thoracotomy for Emergent Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation in Pediatric Patients with Prior Sternotomy

Manan H Desai, Syed M Peer, Syed M Bukhari, Richard A Jonas, Can Yerebakan
ASAIO Journal: a Peer-reviewed Journal of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs 2020 May 11
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is the most common mechanical circulatory support strategy used to treat pediatric patients presenting with low cardiac output or cardiogenic shock. While transthoracic central cannulation is feasible and mostly utilized for early postoperative support, peripheral cannulation is preferred as a primary strategy in the late postoperative period. Redo-sternotomy and venous cannulation are difficult to achieve in patients with occluded peripheral veins or complex venous anatomy like Glenn circulation. In pediatric patients with multiple prior sternotomy and catheterization procedures, vascular access for cannulation is frequently limited. Peripheral cannulation for venoarterial ECMO (VA-ECMO) may be challenging or even impossible. In our case series, four pediatric patients with prior sternotomy underwent right atrial cannulation emergently in patients to secure venous drainage for ECMO support. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support could be established rapidly with adequate venous drainage in all cases. We conclude that right atrial cannulation via right thoracotomy can be a useful technique for venous cannulation in cases with prior sternotomy and is particularly useful in cases with Glenn circulation.

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