Severe acute respiratory distress syndrome secondary to acute pancreatitis successfully treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in three patients

G J Peek, S White, A D Scott, A W Hall, H M Moore, A W Sosnowski, R K Firmin
Annals of Surgery 1998, 227 (4): 572-4

OBJECTIVE: To review three patients who underwent extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for acute respiratory failure secondary to pancreatitis.

SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Severe acute pancreatitis often causes the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and if ventilation is required, the mortality rate is more than 50%. If the ratio of PaO2/FiO2 falls below 100 mm Hg or the Murray lung injury score exceeds 3.5, the mortality rate rises to more than 80%. Three patients who have severe ARDS secondary to pancreatitis, who were hypoxic despite ventilation with 100% oxygen and high airway pressures, and who were all successfully treated with ECMO are reported here. The consensus here is that all three patients would have died without ECMO.

METHODS: Retrospective chart review and discussion of the literature.

RESULTS: Pre-ECMO data: mean PaO2/FiO2 59.3 mm Hg, mean Murray lung injury score 3.7, one patient administered 20 ppm inhaled nitric oxide. ECMO data: mean extracorporeal flow at initiation of ECMO 56.3 mL/kg per minute, all patients administered veno-venous ECMO, mean duration of ECMO 104.7 hours. All patients were successfully weaned from ECMO and extubated. One patient had a protracted hospital stay because of a colo-cutaneous fistula. All patients are long-term survivors.

CONCLUSIONS: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation proved an effective therapy for severe ARDS complicating acute pancreatitis. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation was conducted without bleeding complications in these three patients.

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