Original Article

Outcomes and factors associated with early mortality in pediatric and neonatal patients requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for heart and lung failure

Farid Azizov, Julia Merkle, Javid Fatullayev, Kaveh Eghbalzadeh, Ilija Djordjevic, Carolyn Weber, Sergey Saenko, Axel Kroener, Mohamed Zeriouh, Anton Sabashnikov, Gerardus Bennink, Thorsten Wahlers


Background: Mortality and morbidity after surgical repair for complex congenital heart defects and severe cardiopulmonary failure on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support remain high despite significant advances in medical management and technological improvements. We report on outcomes and factors after using ECMO in our surgical pediatric population including short- and long-term survival.
Methods: A total of 45 neonatal and pediatric patients were identified who needed ECMO in our department between January 2008 and December 2016. In 41 cases (91%) a vaECMO (ECLS) was implemented, whereas 4 patients (9%) received vvECMO treatment for respiratory failure. In 33 cases vaECMO was implanted following cardiac surgery for congenital heart disease (CHD), whereas in 8 patients ECMO was utilized by means of extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (eCPR) following refractory cardiac arrest. The primary endpoint of the present study was survival to discharge and long-term survival free from neurological impairments. Univariate and bivariate analysis was performed to address predictors for outcome. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was used to address mid- and long-term survival.
Results: Median [IQR] duration of ECMO support was 3 [2, 5] days (range, 1–17 days). Median age at ECMO implantation was 128 [14, 1,813] days, median weight of patients was 5.4 [3.3, 12] kg. Totally 10 patients included in this study were diagnosed with concomitant genetic conditions. A total of 20 (44%) patients were successfully weaned off ECMO (survived >24 h after ECMO explantation), whereas 15 (33%) of them survived to discharge. Single ventricle (SV) repair was performed in 14, biventricular repair in 19 patients. Neonates (<30 days of age), female patients, patients with genetic conditions, SV repair patients, and eCPR patient cohort showed lower odds of survival on ECMO. Failed myocardial recovery (P=0.001), profound circulatory failure despite a high dose of catecholamines (P<0.001), neurological impairment pre-ECMO and post-ECMO (P=0.04 and P<0.001, respectively), and severe pulmonary failure despite high respiratory pressure settings were most common mortality reasons.
Conclusions: ECMO provides efficient therapy opportunities for life-threatening conditions. Nevertheless, neonates and pediatric patients who underwent ECMO were at high risk for cerebrovascular events and poor survival. Appropriate patient selection using predictors of outcome reducing complications might improve outcomes of this patient cohort.

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