Background: The benefit of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for patients with severe acute respiratory distress from coronavirus disease 2019 refractory to medical management and lung-protective mechanical ventilation has not been adequately determined. Methods: We reviewed the clinical course of 37 patients with laboratory-confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection supported by venovenous ECMO at 4 ECMO referral centers within a large health care system. Patient characteristics, progression of hemodynamics and inflammatory markers, and clinical outcomes were evaluated. Results: The patients had median age of 51 years (interquartile range, 40-59), and 73% were male. Peak plateau pressures, vasopressor requirements, and arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide all improved with ECMO support. In our patient population, 24 of 37 patients (64.8%) survived to decannulation and 21 of 37 patients (56.8%) survived to discharge. Among patients discharged alive from the ECMO facility, 12 patients were discharged to a long-term acute care or rehabilitation facility, 2 were transferred back to the referring hospital for ventilatory weaning, and 7 were discharged directly home. For patients who were successfully decannulated, median length of time on ECMO was 17 days (interquartile range, 10-33.5). Conclusions: Venovenous ECMO represents a useful therapy for patients with refractory severe acute respiratory distress syndrome from coronavirus disease 2019.
- acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
- coronavirus (COVID-19)
- critical care
- extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine