Bridge-to-recovery strategy using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for critical pulmonary hypertension complicated with cardiogenic shock

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OBJECTIVES Studies on mechanical-medical bridging for decompensated pulmonary hypertension (PH) are limited. We analysed the outcomes for critical PH patients who underwent extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support using a bridge-to-recovery (BTR) strategy. This study aimed to identify prognostic factors of BTR and evaluate the outcomes of survivors. METHODS Between 2009 and 2012, 6 patients who received veno-arterial ECMO due to decompensated PH with cardiogenic shock were retrospectively reviewed. All of the patients were managed with an aggressive titration of PH therapies and the optimization of right ventricular (RV) function to wean them off of ECMO. Three of the patients survived to discharge, and the others suffered in-hospital mortality. The differences between their baseline characteristics, ECMO set-up, haemodynamic change and complications were analysed. RESULTS The average age was 46.67 ± 14.07 years, with a male-to-female ratio of 1:2. The non-survival group exhibited a higher baseline systolic pulmonary artery pressure (127.67 ± 25.81 vs 67.67 ± 24.83 mmHg, P = 0.044) than the survival group before ECMO. All of the non-survivors underwent cardiopulmonary-cerebral resuscitation prior to ECMO implantation (100 vs 0%, P = 0.100). The survivors tended to have received suboptimal PH therapies before ECMO and had more readily correctable predisposing factors of right ventricular failure. The non-survivors required a longer duration of ECMO and suffered more end-organ failure or sepsis, although those differences were not statistically significant. Pneumonia developed in 3 of the survivors and caused late mortality in 2 after discharge. CONCLUSIONS ECMO provides a therapeutic window for the medical stabilization of critically decompensated PH patients. Prompt ECMO intervention before haemodynamic collapse and careful patient selection are critical for successful BTR outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-61
Number of pages7
JournalInteractive cardiovascular and thoracic surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jul 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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