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Congenital diaphragmatic hernia repair in patients requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation: are outcomes better with repair on ECMO or after decannulation?

A best evidence topic in cardiac surgery was written according to a structured protocol. The question addressed was whether congenital diaphragmatic hernia repair outcomes are better before or after decannulation in infants requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). A total of 884 papers were found using the reported search, of which 9 represented the best evidence to answer the clinical question. The authors, journal, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes and results of these papers are tabulated. We conclude that infants with congenital diaphragmatic hernia requiring ECMO should undergo a trial of weaning and aim for post-decannulation repair, as this has been associated with improved survival, shorter ECMO duration and fewer bleeding complications. However, if weaning of ECMO is unsuccessful, the patient should ideally undergo early on-ECMO repair (within 72 h of cannulation), which has been associated with improved survival, less bleeding, shorter ECMO duration and fewer circuit changes compared to late on-ECMO repair. Anticoagulation protocols including perioperative administration of aminocaproic acid or tranexamic acid, as well as close perioperative monitoring of coagulation parameters have been associated with reduced bleeding risk with on-ECMO repairs.

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