Cardiogenic shock is a highly morbid condition in which inadequate end-organ perfusion leads to death if untreated. Peripheral venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is increasingly used to restore systemic perfusion despite limited understanding of how to optimally titrate support. This review provides insights into the physiologic basis of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support and presents an approach to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation management in the cardiogenic shock patient.
Data were obtained from a PubMed search of the most recent medical literature identified from MeSH terms: extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, cardiogenic shock, percutaneous mechanical circulatory support, and heart failure. Articles included original articles, case reports, and review articles.
Current evidence detailing the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation to support patients in cardiogenic shock is limited to isolated case reports and single institution case series focused on patient outcomes but lacking in detailed approaches to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation management. Unlike medical therapy, in which dosages are either prescribed or carefully titrated to specific variables, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is a mechanical support therapy requiring ongoing titration but without widely accepted variables to guide treatment. Similar to mechanical ventilation, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation can provide substantial benefit or induce significant harm. The widespread use and present lack of data to guide extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support demands that intensivists adopt a physiologically-based approach to management of the cardiogenic shock patient on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is a powerful mechanical circulatory support modality capable of rapidly restoring systemic perfusion yet lacking in defined approaches to management. Adopting a management approach based physiologic principles provides a basis for care.
1Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
2Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
Dr. Keller received support for article research from the National Institutes of Health (1K08HL143342-01).
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