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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

Volume 101, Issue 5, May 2016, Pages 1729–1734.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2015.10.095 Copyright © The Society of Thoracic Surgeons


BACKGROUND: There are various factors that can influence the survival of patients receiving venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA ECMO). Vascular complications from femoral cannulation are common and are potentially serious. We analyzed the impact of vascular complications on survival of patients receiving VA ECMO.

METHODS: Patients supported with VA ECMO by means of femoral cannulation from October 2010 to November 2014 were enrolled in this study. Data were gathered retrospectively by reviewing our institutional database. Patients were separated into two groups depending on the presence of major vascular complications, defined as patients who required surgical intervention. We evaluated predisposing factors for vascular complications and compared survival of patients in each group.

RESULTS: There were 84 patients enrolled in the study. The rates of overall ECMO survival and survival to hospital discharge were 60% and 43%, respectively. Major vascular complications requiring surgical intervention were seen in 17 (20%) patients. Ten patients (12%) had compartment syndrome requiring prophylactic fasciotomy, and 10 patients (12%) had bleeding or hematoma requiring surgical exploration. The only significant predisposing factor for vascular complications was the absence of a distal perfusion catheter (odds ratio, 14.8; p = 0.03). The rate of survival to discharge was 18% and 49% in patients with and without vascular complications, respectively (p = 0.02). Vascular complications were an independent factor of significantly worse survival in patients receiving VA ECMO by multivariate analysis (hazard ratio, 2.17; p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS: Vascular complications negatively affect survival in patients receiving VA ECMO support by means of femoral cannulation. The utilization of a distal perfusion catheter can decrease the incidence of complications.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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