Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for postcardiotomy cardiogenic shock in children

Ancel J. Rogers, Alfredo Trento*, Ralph D. Siewers, Bartley P. Griffith, Robert L. Hardesty, Elfriede Pahl, Lee B. Beerman, Frederick J. Fricker, Donald R. Fischer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Size limitations and technical barriers prohibit the use of many conventional mechanical circulatory support systems for postcardiotomy ventricular dysfunction in pediatric populations. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), frequently used to treat neonatal respiratory failure, can provide cardiac support and is effective treatment of postoperative myocardial failure in children. From 1981 to 1987, 10 patients aged 2 days to 5 years were maintained on ECMO for 15 to 144 hours (mean duration, 92 ± 16 hours) after cardiotomy. Operative procedures included repair of tetralogy of Fallot (2 patients), closure of a ventricular septal defect (2), the Senning procedure for transposition of the great arteries (1 patient), repair of interrupted aortic arch with closure of a ventricular septal defect (1), repair of a partial atrioventricular septal defect (2), closure of a ventricular septal defect with excision of an anomalous muscle bundle (1), and the Fontan procedure (1). Venoarterial ECMO was established in all 10 children. Six patients underwent transthoracic right atrium-ascending aorta cannulation, 3 had right internal jugular vein-right common carotid artery cannulation through a cervical incision, and 1 had right internal jugular vein-left axillary artery cannulation. Eight of the 10 patients were successfully weaned from ECMO, and 7 are long-term survivors. There were 3 deaths; 1 was caused by cardiac and acute renal failure complicated by sepsis two days after decannulation, another occurred 19 days after atrioventricular septal defect repair, and 1 was caused by massive pulmonary hemorrhage. Major hemorrhage developed in 3 patients while on ECMO; 2 required premature decannulation for mediastinal bleeding from operative sites and ultimately survived, and 1 died of respiratory failure as a result of endobronchial bleeding. We conclude that the use of ECMO in pediatric populations for transient postoperative ventricular dysfunction improves survival with limited overall morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)903-906
Number of pages4
JournalThe Annals of thoracic surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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