Adult extracorporeal membrane oxygenation: an international survey of transfusion and anticoagulation techniques.


Journal Article

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a method of life support for either isolated cardiac failure or respiratory failure, with or without cardiac failure. When used for hemodynamic support, the ECMO circuit presents a non-endothelialized, artificial surface to blood inciting an inflammatory response which activates haemostatic pathways. Anticoagulation may complicate a pre-existing coagulopathy and/or inadequate surgical hemostasis of varying severity. There is no standardized method to achieve and monitor anticoagulation or guide transfusion therapy during ECMO. We tested the hypothesis that institutions across the world conduct similar management of anticoagulation and transfusion during adult ECMO support. METHODS: This is a descriptive, self-reporting cross-sectional survey of anticoagulation and transfusion practice for patients age 18 or older on ECMO. This 38 multiple-choice question survey was sent to 166 institutions, internationally, utilizing adult ECMO. About 32·4% (54) of institutions responded. Responses were anonymously collected. Descriptive analyses were calculated. RESULTS: Our findings indicate there appears to be a significant practice variation among institutions regarding anticoagulation and transfusion during adult ECMO support. DISCUSSION: The lack of standard practices among institutions may reflect a paucity of data regarding optimal anticoagulation and transfusion for patients requiring ECMO. Standardized protocols for anticoagulation and transfusion may help increase quality of care for and reduce morbidity, mortality and cost to patients and healthcare centres. Further study is required for standardized, high quality care.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Esper, SA; Welsby, IJ; Subramaniam, K; John Wallisch, W; Levy, JH; Waters, JH; Triulzi, DJ; Hayanga, JWA; Schears, GJ

Published Date

  • July 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 112 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 443 - 452

PubMed ID

  • 28466601

Pubmed Central ID

  • 28466601

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1423-0410

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/vox.12514


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England