Venoarterial Extracorporeal Life Support Use in Acute Pulmonary Embolism Shows Favorable Outcomes

Erik J. Scott, Steven Young, Sarah J. Ratcliffe, Xin Qun Wang, J. Hunter Mehaffey, Aditya Sharma, Peter Rycus, Joseph Tonna, Leora Yarboro, Ben Bryner, Michael Collins, Nicholas R. Teman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Differences in outcomes by indication for venoarterial extracorporeal life support (VA-ECLS) are poorly described. We hypothesized that patients on VA-ECLS for acute pulmonary embolism (PE) have fewer complications and better survival than patients on VA-ECLS for other indications. Methods: All patients ≥18 years on VA-ECLS from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization global registry (2010-2019) were evaluated (n = 29,842). After excluding patients aged >79 years (n = 729) and those with incomplete indication data (n = 2530), patients were stratified by VA-ECLS indication for PE vs all other indications. The association between being discharged alive and each type of complication with VA-ECLS indication was assessed. Results: Of 26,583 patients included in the analysis, 978 (3.7%) were on VA-ECLS for a primary diagnosis of acute PE. Acute PE patients were younger (53.1 vs 56.7 years, P < .001) and were more likely to be women (52.1% vs 32.3%, P < .001). Patients who underwent VA-ECLS for acute PE were 78% more likely to be discharged alive vs patients supported with VA-ECLS for other reasons (P < .001). Acute PE patients had fewer cardiovascular and renal complications (26.6% vs 38.0% and 31.1% vs 39.4%, respectively; adjusted P < .001). Acute PE patients had higher odds of having clots and mechanical complications (8.7% vs 7.9% and 16.7% vs 14.6%, respectively; adjusted P < .001). Conclusions: Patients undergoing VA-ECLS for acute PE have higher odds of survival to hospital discharge compared with those supported for other indications. Additionally, VA-ECLS in this population is associated with fewer cardiovascular and renal complications but higher mechanical complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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