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Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation in Pediatric Patients: Our Experience in the Last Ten Years


The use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in children after cardiac surgery is well established. ECMO support is becoming an integral tool for cardiopulmonary resuscitation in specified centers.


To review our use of ECMO over a 10 year period.


All children supported with ECMO from 2000 to 2010 were reviewed. Most of these children suffered from cardiac anomalies. The patients were analyzed by age, weight, procedure, RACHS-1 when appropriate, length of support, and outcome.


Sixty-two children were supported with ECMO; their median age was 3 months (range 0-216 months) and median weight 4.3 kg (range 1.9-51 kg). Thirty-four patients (52.3%) needed additional hemofiltration or dialysis due to renal failure. The children requiring ECMO support represented a wide spectrum of cardiac lesions; the most common procedure was arterial switch operation (27.4%, n=17). ECMO was required mainly for failure to separate from the heart-lung machine (n=55). The median duration of ECMO support was 4 days (range 1-14 days); 29 (46.7%) patients were weaned successfully from ECMO during this time period, and 5 of them died during hospitalization, yielding an overall hospital survival rate of 38.7%.


ECMO support has significant survival benefit for patients with post-cardiotomy heart failure. Its early deployment should be considered in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

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