Article Abstract

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and cytokine adsorption

Authors: Thomas Datzmann, Karl Träger


Abstract: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is an increasingly used technology for mechanical support of respiratory and cardio-circulatory failure. Excessive systemic inflammatory response is observed during sepsis and after cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) with similar clinical features. The overwhelming inflammatory response is characterized by highly elevated pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine levels. The excessive cytokine release during the overwhelming inflammatory response may result in multiple organ damage and failure. During ECMO therapy activation of complement and contact systems occur which may be followed by cytokine release. Controlling excessively increased cytokines may be considered as a valuable treatment option. Hemoadsorption therapy may be used to decrease cytokine levels in case of excessive inflammatory response and due to its unspecific adsorptive characteristics also substances like myoglobin, free hemoglobin or bilirubin. Controlling pro-inflammatory response with hemoadsorption may have positive impact on the endothelial glycocalix and also may be advantageous for maintenance of the vascular barrier function which plays a pivotal role in the development of tissue edema and oxygen mismatch. Hemoadsorption therapy seems to offer a promising new option for the treatment of patients with overwhelming inflammatory response leading to faster hemodynamic and metabolic stabilization finally resulting in preserved organ functions.