Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 12, pp 2219–2221 | Cite as

Have we averted deaths using venoarterial ECMO?

  • Matthieu Schmidt
  • Hannah Wunsch
  • Daniel BrodieEmail author
What's New in Intensive Care

Venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) for refractory cardiogenic shock in adults is currently the quickest and cheapest way to obtain biventricular heart–lung support at the bedside [1]. The precise incidence of VA-ECMO is not well understood and varies by country. However, the increasing use of VA-ECMO has been well documented throughout the world [2, 3]. The epidemiology of VA-ECMO has been best characterized in Germany, where the incidence of VA-ECMO increased substantially from 96 cases in 2007 (incidence 0.1:100,000) to 2873 cases (3.5:100,000) in 2014, a 35-fold increase in use during that time [2]. Importantly, with such extraordinary growth in use coupled with persistent high mortality, we must begin to understand: Is VA-ECMO saving lives? One way to measure this is by calculating the number of deaths averted by using VA-ECMO.

However, it is worth noting that this trend is supported more by clinician beliefs than by high-level scientific evidence—currently,...


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature and ESICM 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthieu Schmidt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hannah Wunsch
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Daniel Brodie
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Sorbonne Université, UPMC Univ Paris 06, INSERM, UMRS_1166-iCAN, Institute of Cardiometabolism and NutritionParis Cedex 13France
  2. 2.Assistance Publique–Hôpitaux de Paris, Pitié–Salpêtrière Hospital, Medical Intensive Care UnitParis Cedex 13France
  3. 3.Department of Critical Care MedicineSunnybrook Health Sciences CenterTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care, Departments of Medicine, Anesthesia and Interdisciplinary, Critical Care MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Department of Critical Care MedicineSunnybrook Research InstituteTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Department of AnesthesiologyColumbia University College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew YorkUSA
  7. 7.Department of MedicineColumbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons/New York-Presbyterian HospitalNew YorkUSA

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