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Background: Although there are considerable data regarding in-hospital results of congenital heart surgery patients requiring post-operative extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support, there is limited information on intermediate-term outcomes.

Methods: A single institution retrospective review of 25 consecutive post-operative congenital heart surgery patients who required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and survived to hospital discharge between January 2003 and June 2008. Survival was estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method.

Results: At a median follow-up of 3.3 years (interquartile range: 1.2-5.9 years), there was 1 death which occurred at 6 months post-surgery. Kaplan-Meier estimated survival at 3 years was 95% (95% confidence interval: 90-100%). Indications for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation included extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (48%), systemic hypoxia (4%), post-operative low cardiac output syndrome (28%), and intra-operative failure to wean off of cardiopulmonary bypass (20%). Following extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support, 65% of patients had unplanned cardiac re-interventions (3 requiring operative interventions, 6 requiring percutaneous interventions, and 4 requiring both), and 47% required unplanned hospitalizations. 29% developed neurological deficits, and 12% developed chronic respiratory failure. No patients developed renal failure. Overall systemic ventricular function normalized in 83% of patients, whereas 17% had persistent mild-to-moderate systemic ventricular dysfunction.

Conclusions: Intermediate-term patient survival of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation following congenital heart surgery is encouraging. However, neurological impairment and unplanned cardiac re-interventions remain significant concerns. Further delineation of risk factors to improve patient outcomes is warranted.


Presented at: George Washington University Research Days 2014.

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ECMO.pdf (163 kB)



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