Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Cannulation Timing in the Pediatric Myocarditis Population: An Exploratory Analysis From the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization Registry

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Critical care explorations








acute myocarditis; cardiac arrest; extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; pediatric myocarditis


UNLABELLED: Children presenting with acute myocarditis may experience rapid clinical deterioration requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO); however, our understanding of best practices and timing of ECMO initiation are lacking. We explored the relationships between pre-cannulation factors and survival in this high-acuity patient population. DESIGN: Retrospective review of a large international registry. Primary outcome was survival to hospital discharge, stratified by incident cardiac arrest (CA) prior to ECMO and time to cannulation after intubation. SETTING AND SUBJECTS: The Extracorporeal Life Support Organization registry was queried for patients less than or equal to 18 years old receiving ECMO support for myocarditis between 2007 and 2018. Exclusion criteria included being nonindex runs, non-venoarterial ECMO or missing data points for main variables studied. INTERVENTIONS: None. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Population characteristics and survival were compared using test, Wilcoxon rank-sum test, or Fisher exact test. Multivariable logistic regression was used for significant factors in the unadjusted logistic regression. Among 506 index ECMO runs in pediatric patients with myocarditis, survival for the cohort was 72%, with no difference between early and late eras (2007-2012 vs 2013-2018; = 0.69). Survivors demonstrated higher pre-ECMO pH levels as well as shorter intubation-to-cannulation (ITC) times (3 hr [interquartile range (IQR)], 1-14 hr vs 6 hr [IQR, 2-20 hr]; = 0.021). CA occurred within 24 hours prior to ECMO cannulation, including extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation, in 54% of ECMO runs ( = 273). Accounting for the interaction between pre-ECMO CA occurrence and ITC time, longer ITC time remained associated with lower survival for patients who did not experience a CA prior to ECMO, with adjusted odds ratio of 0.09 (IQR, 0.02-0.40; = 0.002) for ITC time greater than or equal to 18 hours. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this multicenter analysis of ECMO utilization and outcomes for pediatric myocarditis suggest that patients approaching ECMO cannulation who have not experienced CA may have better survival outcomes if cannulated onto ECMO early after intubation.