Outcome of adult respiratory failure patients receiving prolonged (≥ 14 Days) ECMO

Joseph Posluszny, Peter T. Rycus, Robert H. Bartlett, Milo Engoren, Jonathan W. Haft, William R. Lynch, Pauline K. Park, Krishnan Raghavendran, Lena M. Napolitano*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


To examine the outcomes of prolonged (≥14 days) extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (P-ECMO) for adult severe respiratory failure and to assess characteristics associated with survival. Background: The use of ECMO for treatment of severe respiratory adult patients is associated with overall survival rates of 50% to 70% with median ECMO duration of 10 days. No prior multi-institutional studies have examined outcomes of P-ECMO for severe respiratory failure. Methods: Data on all adult (≥18 years) patients who required P-ECMO for severe respiratory failure from 1989 to 2013 were extracted from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization international multi-institutional registry. We examined outcomes over 23 years and compared the 2 more recent time periods of 1989 to 2006 versus 2007 to 2013. Results: Up to 974 patients, mean age 40.2 (18-83) years, had ECMO duration of mean 25.2 days/median 21.0 days (range: 14-208 days). Venovenous ECMO support was most common (venovenous: 79.5%, venoarterial: 9.9%). Reason for ECMO discontinuation included native lung recovery (54%), organ failure (23.7%), family request (6.7%), hemorrhage (2.7%), and diagnosis incompatible with life (5.6%). Forty patients (4.1%) underwent lung transplant with 50% postoperative in-hospital mortality. Increased prevalence of P-ECMO was noted with 72% (701/974) of all cases reported since 2008. Survival to hospital discharge was 45.4% (443/974) and did not vary with ECMO duration. Multivariate logistic regression analysis confirmed that PECMO patients 2007 to 2013 had a lower risk of death [odds ratio (OR): 0.650; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.454-0.929; P=0.010] compared with 1989 to 2006. Factors independently associated with survival were younger age (OR: 0.983; 95% CI, 0.974-0.993; P<0.001) and lower PaCO2 (OR, 0.991; 95% CI, 0.986-0.996; P<0.001). Conclusions: Prolonged ECMO use for adult respiratory failure was associated with a lower (45.4%) hospital survival rate, compared with prior reported survival rates of short duration ECMO. Prolonged ECMO survival significantly increased in recent years, and increasing ECMO duration did not alter the survival fraction in the 1989 to 2013 study cohort. Although P-ECMO survival rates are less than short ECMO runs, P-ECMO support is justified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-581
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016


  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • acute respiratory failure
  • extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • outcome
  • prolonged duration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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