Perioperative Morbidity and Outcomes in Pediatric Patients Transitioned From Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation to Ventricular Assist Device Support: A Study of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Congenital Heart Surgery Database

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



ASAIO journal (American Society for Artificial Internal Organs : 1992)




As a bridge to transplant strategy, children transitioned from extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) to ventricular assist device (VAD) have higher waitlist mortality compared with those who receive de novo VAD. However, the contribution of the immediate perioperative period and differences in the two groups are not well studied. We performed a nested case-control study between children receiving de novo VAD (group 1) and those transitioned from ECMO to VAD (group 2) between 2014 and 2019 using The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) database. A total of 735 children underwent VAD placement with 498 in group 1 and 237 in group 2. Patients in group 2 were significantly younger, smaller, and significantly sicker, were twice as likely to transition to biventricular VAD and need unplanned reoperations. Overall mortality was 16% for group 1 and 34% for group 2 (p < 0.01). Regression analysis showed that ECMO use (odds ratio [OR], 2.17 [1.3-3.4]), ventilator need (OR, 2.2 [1.3-3.9]), and cardiogenic shock (OR, 1.8 [1.2-2.8]) were all independent preoperative predictors of VAD mortality while dialysis need (OR, 25.5 [8.6-75.3]), stroke (OR, 6.2 [3.1-12.6]), and bleeding (OR, 1.9 [1.1-3.4]) were independent postoperative predictors of VAD mortality within 30 days (all p < 0.05). The study demonstrated significant baseline differences between the two cohorts, warranting avoidance of comparison. Early elective VAD placement in this cohort of patients should be sought to avoid interim ECMO and high post-VAD mortality.