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Introduction: Bleeding complications on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) are often encountered. In a review of our own series, it was found that upper aero digestive tract bleeding was common and management was often difficult. We propose an algorithm to help manage upper aero digestive tract bleeding in the anticoagulated, ECMO patient. Hypothesis: Once an ECMO patient fails conservative management for upper aero digestive bleeding, more aggressive measures will prove successful, which will provide benefit to the patient. Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed of the patients who underwent venovenous or veno-arterial ECMO at our institution between July 2010 and July 2012. The patients that had upper aero digestive tract bleeding that required an Otolaryngology consultation were identified. They were further investigated to determine location of bleed and procedures performed to control the bleeding. Results: Among the 37 consecutive patients on ECMO, 11 (30%) had upper aero digestive tract bleeding events. Of these 11, 6 (55%) were secondary to an iatrogenic incident, such as placing a nasogastric tube or transesophageal echo probe. All 11 patients were treated at bedside with conservative management and 2 were treated in the operating room. 72.7 % of patients treated with conservative management required repeated procedures due to incomplete hemostasis, compared to 0% of patients once surgical intervention was complete. Conclusions: Approximately one third of the ECMO patients developed upper aero digestive tract bleeding. This bleeding should be controlled in a timely manner otherwise it may result in massive transfusions. Delaying intervention or conservative management may not be effective. We recommend surgical intervention if the initial conservative management failed and continued to bleed for more than 24-36 hours.

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