Similar Outcomes Seen in ECMO and Mechanically-Ventilated COVID-19 Patients

May 1, 2021
Killian Meara

Killian Meara, assistant editor for ContagionLive, joined the MJH Life Sciences team in November 2020. He graduated from William Paterson University with a degree in liberal studies, and concentrations in history and psychology. He enjoys film, reading, and pretending he is a good cook. Follow him on Twitter @krmeara or email him at [email protected]

The multidisciplinary, retrospective analysis showed that long-term outcomes of ECMO patients did not vary from that of others.

A recent study presented at the American Association for Thoracic Surgery 101st Annual Meeting has found that COVID-19 patients who were treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) showed similar outcomes as others who were treated with mechanical-ventilation.

The study was conducted by a team of investigators from the University of Colorado, the University of Virginia, the University of Kentucky, Johns Hopkins University and Vanderbilt University.

"The initial guidance for ECMO in COVID was helpful and saved a lot of lives, and not to their detriment, which is very encouraging," Jessica Rove, Assistant Professor, Cardiothoracic Surgery at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, and Section Chief, Cardiac Surgery, Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center said. "This multidisciplinary collaboration is committed to examining long-term outcomes beyond survival, and early results look promising. This may help to further refine who should receive ECMO and may increase the rate of positive outcomes."

For the study, investigators conducted a retrospective analysis of mechanically ventilated patients who had a confirmed case of COVID-19 and were admitted to a hospital between the months of March and May of 2020.

The data for the study was gathered from the 5 academic sites, and included 46 patients who were treated with ECMO and 262 mechanically ventilated patients who did not receive ECMO.

Findings from the study demonstrated that there was no significant difference in survival at hospital discharge. Of the 215 patients who survived, 93.9 percent were residing at home, 16.1 percent had returned to work or usual activity and 26.2 percent were still using supplemental oxygen.

The rates were not significantly different based on ECMO status.

"It is exciting that we now have the long term outcomes of these patients and that they are so promising,” Lauren Taylor, a fellow at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus said. “Further study of these patients over the long term can help to further refine who we are canulating for ECMO, leading to better outcomes for all."