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    Lessons learned from extracorporeal membrane oxygenation as a bridge to lung transplantation

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        Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has been used infrequently as a bridge to lung transplantation due to lack of consensus and data regarding the benefits of such a strategy. We present data from the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) database on the outcomes of patients bridged to lung transplantation with ECMO. We used the UNOS database to analyze data between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2011. During this time 14,263 lung transplants were performed, of which 143 (1.0%) were bridged using ECMO. Patients on ECMO as a bridge to lung transplantation were compared to those transplanted without prior ECMO support. Demographics, survival rates, complications, and rejection episodes were compared between the two groups. The 30-day, 6-month, 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year survival rates were 69%, 56%, 48%, 26%, and 11%, respectively, for the ECMO bridge group and 95%, 88%, 81%, 58%, and 38% respectively, for the control group ( p ≤ 0.01). The ECMO group incurred higher rate of postoperative complications, including airway dehiscence (4% vs. 1%, p ≤ 0.01), stroke (3% vs. 2%, p ≤ 0.01), infection (56% vs. 42%, p ≤ 0.01), and pulmonary embolism (10% vs. 0.6%, p ≤ 0.01). The length of hospital stay was longer for the ECMO group (41 vs. 25 days, p ≤ 0.01), and they were treated for rejection more often (49% vs. 36%, p = 0.02). The use of ECMO as a bridge to lung transplantation is associated with significantly worse survival and more frequent postoperative complications. Therefore, we advocate very careful patient selection and cautious use of ECMO.

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        Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in awake patients as bridge to lung transplantation.

        The use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in patients who are awake and spontaneously breathing may represent a novel bridging strategy toward lung transplantation (LuTx). To evaluate the outcomes of patients treated with the "awake ECMO" concept as bridge to transplantation. We performed a retrospective, single-center, intention-to-treat analysis of consecutive LuTx candidates with terminal respiratory or cardiopulmonary failure receiving awake ECMO support. The outcomes were compared with a historical control group of patients treated with conventional mechanical ventilation (MV group) as bridge to transplant. Twenty-six patients (58% female; median age, 44 yr; range, 23-62) were included in the awake ECMO group and 34 patients (59% female; median age, 36 yr; range, 18-59) in the MV group. The duration of ECMO support or MV, respectively, was comparable in both groups (awake ECMO: median, 9 d; range, 1-45. MV: median, 15 d; range, 1-71; P = 0.25). Six (23%) of 26 patients in the awake ECMO group and 10 (29%) of 34 patients in the MV group died before a donor organ was available (P = 0.20). Survival at 6 months after LuTx was 80% in the awake ECMO group versus 50% in the MV group (P = 0.02). Patients in the awake ECMO group required shorter postoperative MV (P = 0.04) and showed a trend toward a shorter postoperative hospital stay (P = 0.06). ECMO support in patients who are awake and nonintubated represents a promising bridging strategy, which should be further evaluated to determine its role in patients with end-stage lung disease awaiting LuTx.
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          Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation as a bridge to pulmonary transplantation.

          Acute clinical deterioration preceding death is a common observation in patients with advanced interstitial lung disease and secondary pulmonary hypertension. Patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension refractory to medical therapy are also at risk of sudden cardiac death (cor pulmonale). The treatment of these patients remains complex, and the findings from retrospective studies have suggested that intubation and mechanical ventilation are inappropriate given the universally poor outcomes. Extracorporeal support technologies have received limited attention because of the presumed inability to either recover cardiopulmonary function in the patient with end-stage disease or the presumed inability to proceed to definitive therapy with transplantation. A retrospective review was performed of 31 patients from 2 institutions placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation as a bridge to lung transplantation compared with similar patients without extracorporeal membrane oxygenation at the same institutions and comparison groups queried from the United Network for Organ Sharing database. We have transplanted 31 patients with refractory lung disease from mechanical artificial lung support. Of the 31 patients, 19 were ambulatory at transplantation. Pulmonary fibrosis (42%), cystic fibrosis (20%), and pulmonary hypertension (16%) were the most common diagnostic codes and acute cor pulmonale (48%) and hypoxia (39%) were the most common indications for device deployment. The average duration of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support was 13.7 days (range, 2-53 days), and the mean survival of all patients bridged to pulmonary transplantation was 26 months (range, 54 days to 95 months). The 1-, 3-, and 5-year survival was 93%, 80%, and 66%, respectively. The duration of in-house postoperative transplant care ranged from 12 to 86 days (mean, 31 days). Patients requiring an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation bridge had comparable survival to that of the high acuity patients transplanted without extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support in the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients database but were at a survival disadvantage compared with the high-acuity patients (lung allocation score, >50) transplanted at the same center who did not require mechanical support (P < .001). These observations challenge current assumptions about the treatment of selected patients with end-stage lung disease and suggest that "salvage transplant" is both technically feasible and logistically viable. Widespread adoption of artificial lung technology in lung transplant will require the design of clinical trials that establish the most effective circumstances in which to use these technologies. A discussion of a clinical trial and reconsideration of current allocation policy is warranted. Copyright © 2013 The American Association for Thoracic Surgery. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.
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            Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation as a bridge to lung transplant: midterm outcomes.

            Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is used occasionally as a bridge to lung transplantation. The impact on mid-term survival is unknown. We analyzed outcomes after lung transplant over a 19-year period in patients who received ECMO support. From March 1991 to October 2010, 1,305 lung transplants were performed at our institution. Seventeen patients (1.3%) were supported with ECMO before lung transplant. Diagnoses included retransplantation (n = 6), pulmonary fibrosis (n = 6), cystic fibrosis (n = 4), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (n = 1). Fifteen patients underwent double lung transplant, one patient had single left lung transplant and one patient had a heart-lung transplant. Venovenous and venoarterial ECMO were implanted in eight and nine cases, respectively. Median duration of support was 3.2 days (range, 1 to 49 days). Mean patient follow-up was 2.3 years. Thirty-day, 1-year, and 3-year survivals were 81%, 74%, and 65%, respectively, for the supported patients and 93%, 78%, and 62% in the control group (p = 0.56). Two-year survival was not affected by ECMO type, with survival of five out of nine patients supported by venoarterial ECMO vs seven out of eight patients supported by venovenous ECMO (p = 0.17). At 1- year follow-up, allograft function for the ECMO-supported patients did not differ from the control group (forced expiratory volume in one second, 2.35 L vs 2.09 L, p = 0.39) (forced vital capacity, 3.06 L vs 2.71 L, p = 0.34). Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation as a bridge to lung transplantation is associated with higher perioperative mortality but acceptable mid-term survival in carefully selected patients. Late allograft function did not differ in patients who received ECMO support before lung transplant from those who did not receive ECMO. Copyright © 2011 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

              Author and article information

              [1 ]Bonde Artificial Heart Laboratory, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA
              [2 ]Section of Cardiac Surgery, Yale-New Haven Hospital, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA
              [3 ]Yale Center for Advanced Heart Failure, Mechanical Support, and Heart Transplantation, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA
              Author notes
              [* ]Corresponding author's e-mail address: pramod.bonde@

              Presented at the New England Surgical Society, 94th Annual Meeting, Hartford, CT, September 2013.

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              ScienceOpen Research
              16 May 2014
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              3753:XE 10.14293/A2199-1006.01.SOR-MED.BG1R6.v1
              © 2014 Shumaster et al.

              This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0 , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at .

              Figures: 3, Tables: 9, References: 8, Pages: 8
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