Factors Associated with Ipsilateral Limb Ischemia in Patients Undergoing Femoral Cannulation Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation

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34 Scopus citations


Background: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is an important life-saving modality for patients with cardiopulmonary failure. Vascular complications, including clinically significant limb ischemia, may occur as a result of femoral artery cannulation for venoarterial (VA) ECMO. This study examines our institutional experience with femoral VA ECMO and the development of ipsilateral limb ischemia. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of all consecutive patients undergoing femoral VA ECMO between 2011 and 2016. The primary endpoint was clinical evidence of limb-threatening ischemia. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify predictors for limb ischemia after cannulation. Results: Between March 2011 and September 2016, 154 patients underwent femoral cannulation for VA ECMO. Overall in-hospital mortality was 59.7%. Clinically significant ipsilateral limb ischemia occurred in 34 (22%) patients; 7 required four-compartment fasciotomy, and 3 of these patients required amputation. On univariate analysis, a history of pulmonary disease, peripheral arterial disease, and stroke or transient ischemic attack was significantly associated with clinical limb ischemia. On multivariate analysis, younger age (odds ratio [OR], 0.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.93–0.99), diabetes (OR, 2.77; 95% CI, 1.08–7.12), pulmonary disease (OR, 3.86; 95% CI, 1.38–10.78), and peripheral arterial disease (OR, 13.68; CI, 2.75–68.01) were associated with limb ischemia. Lack of prophylactic distal perfusion catheter and arterial cannula size were not independently associated with limb ischemia. Conclusions: Femoral ECMO cannulation can be associated with significant limb ischemia necessitating surgical intervention. Younger patients, as well as those with a history of diabetes, pulmonary disease, and peripheral arterial disease, may be at increased risk for this complication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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