Venoarterial Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation for Cardiogenic Shock and Cardiac Arrest: Cardinal Considerations for Initiation and Management

P Rao, Z Khalpey, R Smith, D Burkhoff and RD Kociol
Circ Heart Fail 2018;11:e004905

Venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VAECMO)—also referred to as extracorporeal life support—is a form of temporary mechanical circulatory support and simultaneous extracorporeal gas exchange. The initiation of VA-ECMO has emerged as a salvage intervention in patients with cardiogenic shock, even cardiac arrest refractory to standard therapies. Analogous to veno-venous ECMO for acute respiratory failure, VA-ECMO provides circulatory support and allows time for other treatments to promote recovery or may be a bridge to a more durable mechanical solution in the setting of acute or acute on chronic cardiopulmonary failure. In this review, we provide a brief overview of VA-ECMO, the attendant physiological considerations of peripheral VA-ECMO, and its complications, namely that of left ventricular distention, bleeding, heightened systemic inflammatory response syndrome, thrombosis and thromboembolism, and extremity ischemia or necrosis

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