Venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in neonates with respiratory failure

A F Andrews, M D Klein, J M Toomasian, D W Roloff, R H Bartlett
Journal of Pediatric Surgery 1983, 18 (4): 339-46
Venoarterial (VA) extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has been successful in support of neonates with respiratory failure but requires right common carotid artery ligation. While no short-term neurologic complications have resulted from neonatal carotid ligation, late complications may occur. For both VA ECMO and venovenous (VV) ECMO, blood is drained from the right atrium via a right internal jugular cannula, oxygenated by a membrane lung, and returned to the patient. VV ECMO spares the carotid by perfusing the oxygenated blood into a vein. VV ECMO gave total respiratory support to three neonates with respiratory failure and each infant survived. In comparison with three similar VA ECMO patients, the VV patients required higher ECMO circuit flow rates and had lower systemic arterial Po2s. Length of time on ECMO, length of hospital stay, and neurologic outcome were similar in the VV and VA patients. Differences among the patients were related to their primary disease rather than to the mode of ECMO support. The VV patients had cannulation of the femoral vein for perfusion of oxygenated blood. Late complications may occur from femoral vein ligation as well as from carotid ligation so long-term follow-up is needed to assess these two ECMO techniques.

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