Venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in pediatric respiratory failure

P. Benson Ham, Brice Hwang, Linda J. Wise, K. Christian Walters, Walter L. Pipkin, Charles G. Howell, Jatinder Bhatia, Robyn Hatley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Conventional treatment of respiratory failure involves positive pressure ventilation that can worsen lung damage. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is typically used when conventional therapy fails. In this study, we evaluated the use of venovenous (VV)-ECMO for the treatment of severe pediatric respiratory failure at our institution. A retrospective analysis of pediatric patients (age 1-18) placed on ECMO in the last 15 years (1999-2014) by the pediatric surgery team for respiratory failure was performed. Five pediatric patients underwent ECMO (mean age 10 years; range, 2-16). All underwent VV-ECMO. Diagnoses were status asthmaticus (2), acute respiratory distress syndrome due to septic shock (1), aspergillus pneumonia (1), and respiratory failure due to parainfluenza (1). Two patients had severe barotrauma prior to ECMO initiation. Average oxygenation index (OI) prior to cannulation was 74 (range 23-122). No patients required conversion to VA-ECMO. The average ECMO run time was 4.4 days (range 2-6). The average number of days on the ventilator was 15 (range 4-27). There were no major complications due to the procedure. Survival to discharge was 100%. Average follow up is 4.4 years (range 1-15). A short run of VV-ECMO can be lifesaving for pediatric patients in respiratory failure. Survival is excellent despite severely elevated oxygen indices. VV-ECMO may be well tolerated and can be considered for severe pediatric respiratory failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)787-788
Number of pages2
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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