The onset of sepsis in neonates while on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) may portend adverse results. Nevertheless, ECMO has been used as a therapy in the management of septic conditions. This study assessed morbidity and mortality in neonates in whom septic complications developed while they were on ECMO. Of 5,123 neonates in the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization Registry undergoing ECMO for nonseptic indications, 217 patients had development of septic complications. A multivariate logistic regression analysis that considered 15 pre-ECMO criteria was performed to evaluate outcome. Mortality was higher in the septic group (35% versus 17%; p < 0.002) and ECMO duration averaged 85 hours longer (p < 0.001). Septic neonates had a greater frequency of complications including seizures, gastrointestinal bleeding, renal dysfunction, and metabolic problems (all p < 0.05). Transfusion requirements were doubled. Oxygenator thrombi and hemofilter malfunction occurred more often in septic patients (p < 0.03). New strategies to prevent sepsis and associated thrombotic and metabolic complications may be indicated. A critical reappraisal of continued aggressive support may be warranted when septic complications develop in neonates during ECMO.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine