Outcomes and associated ethical considerations of long-run pediatric ECMO at a single center institution
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Survival of neonatal and pediatric patients undergoing extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) ≥ 21 days has not been well described. We hypothesized that patients would have poor survival and increased long-term complications.
Retrospective, single center, review and case analysis. Tertiary-care university children’s hospital including neonatal, pediatric and cardiac intensive care units. After institutional review board approval, the charts of all patients < 18 years of age undergoing ECMO for ≥ 21 continuous days were performed, and they were compared to comparative patients undergoing shorter runs. Overall survival, incidence of complications, and post-discharge recovery were recorded.
Overall survival was 36% in patients undergoing ≥ 21 days of ECMO (N = 14). 5/8 patients with cardiopulmonary failure from acquired etiologies survived versus 0/6 patients with congenital anomalies. 1/5 survivors achieved complete recovery with no neurologic deficits. The remaining survivors suffer from multiple medical and neurodevelopmental morbidities.
ECMO support for ≥ 21 days is associated with poor survival, particularly in neonates with congenital anomalies. Long-term outcomes for survivors ought to be carefully weighed and discussed with parents given the high incidence of neurologic morbidities in this population.
KeywordsNeonatal ECMO Pediatric ECMO Long-run Neurodevelopmental outcome Moral distress, Ethics
This project was presented at The MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics April 2018 and at the Academic Surgical Congress 2018.
This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health NIDDK K08DK106450 (CH) but did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study formal consent is not required.
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