Neurocritical Care for Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Patients

Sung Min Cho*, Salia Farrokh, Glenn Whitman, Thomas P. Bleck, Romergryko G. Geocadin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Objectives: To review the neurocritical care aspects of patients supported by extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, including cerebral physiology, neurologic monitoring, use of sedatives and anti-seizure medications, and prevalence and management of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation associated brain injury. Data Sources: PubMed database search using relevant search terms related to neurologic complications, neurocritical care management, and brain injury management in patients with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Study Selection: Articles included original investigations, review articles, consensus statements and guidelines. Data Extraction: A detailed review of publications performed and relevant publications were summarized. Data Synthesis: We found no practice guidelines or management strategies for the neurocritical care of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation patients. Such patients are at high risk for hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, intracranial hemorrhage, cerebral edema, and brain death. Improving clinical outcomes will depend on better defining the neurologic complications and underlying pathophysiology that are specific to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Currently, insufficient understanding of the pathophysiology of neurologic complications prevents us from addressing their etiologies with specific, targeted monitoring techniques and interventions. Conclusions: A large knowledge gap exists in our understanding and treatment of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation-related neurologic complications. A systematic and multidisciplinary approach is needed to reduce the prevalence of these complications and to better manage the neurologic sequelae of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in a way that will improve patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1773-1781
Number of pages9
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • brain injury
  • extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • neurocritical care
  • neurologic monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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