Left heart decompression at venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation initiation in cardiogenic shock: prophylactic versus therapeutic strategy

Soo Jin Na, Jeong Hoon Yang, Ji-Hyuk Yang, Kiick Sung, Jin-Oh Choi, Joo-Yong Hahn, Eun-Seok Jeon, Yang Hyun Cho


Background: We aimed to investigate the effects and proper timing of left heart decompression (LHD) on the clinical outcomes of patients on venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA ECMO).
Methods: Among 335 adult patients who underwent VA ECMO from January 2013 to December 2016, 50 who underwent LHD were analyzed. The patients were divided into two groups according to the timing of LHD: those in whom percutaneous LHD was performed at ECMO initiation (prophylactic LHD group, n=18) and those who required LHD to treat complications of impaired left ventricle (LV) unloading (therapeutic LHD group, n=32).
Results: Thirty-day mortality rates were 34.4% and 5.6% in the therapeutic and prophylactic LHD groups, respectively (P=0.036). The rate of successful weaning from ECMO (62.5% vs. 83.3%, P=0.123) and duration of ECMO support (10.5 vs. 15.4 days, P=0.332) were not significantly different between the groups. However, the rate of bridging to cardiac replacement therapy, such as heart transplantation or left ventricular assist device, was significantly higher in the prophylactic LHD group (66.7%) than in the therapeutic LHD group (37.5%) (P=0.048).
Conclusions: Prophylactic percutaneous transseptal left atrial (LA) drainage at ECMO initiation appeared to be associated with a lower early mortality rate and a higher likelihood of successful bridging to cardiac replacement therapy than therapeutic LHD to treat complications of left ventricular distension.