To review the neurocritical care aspects of patients supported by extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, including cerebral physiology, neurologic monitoring, use of sedatives and anti-seizure medications, and prevalence and management of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation associated brain injury.
PubMed database search using relevant search terms related to neurologic complications, neurocritical care management, and brain injury management in patients with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.
Articles included original investigations, review articles, consensus statements and guidelines.
A detailed review of publications performed and relevant publications were summarized.
We found no practice guidelines or management strategies for the neurocritical care of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation patients. Such patients are at high risk for hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, intracranial hemorrhage, cerebral edema, and brain death. Improving clinical outcomes will depend on better defining the neurologic complications and underlying pathophysiology that are specific to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Currently, insufficient understanding of the pathophysiology of neurologic complications prevents us from addressing their etiologies with specific, targeted monitoring techniques and interventions.
A large knowledge gap exists in our understanding and treatment of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation-related neurologic complications. A systematic and multidisciplinary approach is needed to reduce the prevalence of these complications and to better manage the neurologic sequelae of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in a way that will improve patient outcomes.