Adjunctive therapies during veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
Veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV ECMO) restores gas exchanges in severely hypoxemic patients. The need for adjunctive therapies usually originates either from refractory hypoxemia during ECMO (defined as the persistence of low blood oxygen levels despite extracorporeal support) or from the attempt to give a specific therapy for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). In this review, therapeutic strategies to treat refractory and persistent hypoxemia during ECMO are evaluated. In the second part, therapies that can be added on top of VV ECMO to address inflammation and altered vascular permeability in ARDS are examined. The therapies currently available often allow for an effective treatment of hypoxemia during ECMO. ARDS is still lacking a specific therapy, with low-grade evidence sustaining the majority of currently used drugs.