Two decades' experience with interfacility transport on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation

Benjamin Bryner*, Elaine Cooley, William Copenhaver, Kristin Brierley, Nicholas Teman, Denise Landis, Peter Rycus, Mark Hemmila, Lena M. Napolitano, Jonathan Haft, Pauline K. Park, Robert H. Bartlett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Background. Interfacility transport of patients onextracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has beenperformed in large numbers at only a few programs.Limited data are available on outcomes after ECMOtransport to justify expanding or discontinuing theseprograms.

Methods. This was a retrospective review of a 20-year,single-institution experience with interhospital ECMOtransport as well as a systematic review of reports of transfersof patients on ECMO.

Results of both were comparedwith historical data from the international registry of theExtracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO).Results. Between 1990 and 2012, ECMO was used tofacilitate transport of 221 patients to our institution, and135 (62%) survived to discharge. Review of an additional27 case series describing ECMO transport of 643 patientsshowed an overall survival of 61%. After stratifying byage and primary indication for ECMO, survival oftransported patients was not significantly differentcompared with all ECMO patients in the ELSO registry,with the exception of pediatric patients treated for respiratoryfailure (transported patients in this category hadhigher survival than those in the ELSO registry).

Conclusions. Interfacility transport on ECMO isfeasible and can be accomplished safely in the criticallyill. Survival of transported patients is comparable to agematchedand treatment-matched ECMO patients at large.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1363-1370
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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