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Association between a low-risk COVID-19 extracorporeal membrane oxygenation criteria and mortality: A retrospective study.

OBJECTIVE: Our study aimed to compare the outcomes of COVID-19 patients who met a low-risk inclusion criteria for veno-venous extra corporeal membrane oxygenation (VV ECMO) with those who did not meet criteria due to higher risk but were subsequently cannulated.

METHODS: This was a retrospective observational cohort study that included adult patients who were placed on VV ECMO for COVID-19 related acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) at a tertiary care academic medical center. The primary outcome was the association between the low-risk criteria and mortality. The patients met the criteria if they met EOLIA severe ARDS criteria, no absolute contraindications (age > 60 years, BMI > 55 kg/m2 , mechanical ventilation (MV) duration >7 days, irreversible neurologic damage, chronic lung disease, active malignancy, or advanced multiorgan dysfunction), and had three or less relative contraindications (age > 50 years, BMI > 45 kg/m2 , comorbidities, MV duration > 4 days, acute kidney injury, receiving vasopressors, hospital LOS > 14 days, or COVID-19 diagnosis > 4 weeks).

RESULTS: Sixty-five patients were included from March 2020 through March 2022. Patients were stratified into low-risk or high-risk categories. The median Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score was 7 and the median PaO2/FiO2 ratio was 44 at the time of ECMO cannulation. The in-hospital mortality was 47.8% in the low-risk group and 69.0% in the high-risk group ( p  = 0.096).

CONCLUSION: There was not a statistically significant difference in survival between low-risk patients and high-risk patients; however, there was a trend toward higher survival in the lower-risk group.

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