Characteristics and Outcomes of COVID-19 Patients Supported by Venoarterial or Veno-Arterial-Venous Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation

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Objectives: Cardiac injury has been reported in up to 20%-to-30% of patients with COVID-19, and severe disease can lead to cardiopulmonary failure. The role of mechanical circulatory support in these patients remains undetermined. The authors here aimed to determine the characteristics and outcomes of patients with COVID-19 requiring venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA ECMO) or veno-arterial-venous (VAV) ECMO support. Design and Setting: A multicenter, retrospective case series. Participants: The cohort consisted of adult patients (18 years of age and older) with confirmed COVID-19 requiring VA ECMO or VAV ECMO support in the period from March 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021. Outcomes were recorded until July 31, 2021. Measurements and Main Results: To show factors related to death during hospitalization, patients were grouped as survivors and nonsurvivors. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to estimate 90-day in-hospital mortality. Overall, 37 patients from 12 centers comprised the study cohort. The median patient age was 44 years old (interquartile range [IQR], 35-52), and 12 (32%) were female patients. The duration of ECMO support ranged from 2-to-132 days. At the end of the follow-up period, 13 patients (35%) were discharged or transferred alive, and 24 patients (65%) died during the hospitalization. The cumulative in-hospital mortality at 90 days was 64% (95% confidence interval: 47-81). During the time from intubation to VA ECMO or VAV ECMO initiation (1 day [IQR 0-7.5] v 6 days [IQR 2.5-14], p = 0.0383), body mass index (32 [IQR 26-36] v 37 [IQR 33-40], p = 0.009), and baseline C-reactive protein (7.15 v 38.9 mg/dL, p = 0.009) were higher in those who expired. Conclusion: Only one-third of the patients with COVID-19 requiring VA ECMO or VAV ECMO survived to discharge. Close monitoring of at-risk patients with early initiation of ECMO with circulatory support may further improve outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2935-2941
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • COVID-19
  • circulatory support devices
  • coronavirus disease 2019
  • venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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