Delaying Decannulation After Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Is Safe and Advantageous

Delaying Decannulation After Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Is Safe and Advantageous


Removal of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) cannulae and discontinuing systemic anticoagulation typically occurs soon after separation from ECMO. We have found, however, that delaying decannulation after terminating ECMO therapy does not predispose to adverse outcomes and may be advantageous. Between January 2014 and June 2016, 36 postcardiotomy patients at the Children’s Hospital of Oklahoma required ECMO. In this cohort of 36 patients, there was a need for 42 ECMO runs. Of the 42 ECMO runs, 29 (69%) survived to decannulation. Of those ECMO runs that survived to decannulation, 18 (62%) were cannulated centrally and 11 (38%) were cannulated via the neck. For the runs where the patient survived to decannulation, the mean number of days on ECMO support was 4 ± 2 days. There was an average time interval of 21 ± 14 hours from ECMO termination to decannulation. A single patient failed being separated from ECMO support and required reinstitution of ECMO 18 hours after separation (but did not require recannulation).



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