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Pediatr Cardiol. 2014 Dec;35(8):1421-8. doi: 10.1007/s00246-014-0945-z. Epub 2014 Jul 31.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in children with heart disease and down syndrome: a multicenter analysis.

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  • 1Sections of Pediatric Cardiology and Critical Care Medicine, Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, Arkansas Children's Hospital, College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 1 Children's Way, Slot 512-3, Little Rock, AR, USA,


The data on the outcomes of children with heart disease and Down syndrome receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for cardiac or respiratory failure are limited. This study aimed to evaluate morbidity and mortality associated with ECMO in children with Down syndrome and heart disease. Children younger than 18 years undergoing heart surgery and ECMO reported in the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) registry (1998-2011) were included in the study. The registry was queried for the following five heart defects: common atrioventricular (AV) canal, tetralogy of Fallot, truncus arteriosus, transposition of great vessels, and interrupted aortic arch. Data collection included patient characteristics, ECMO characteristics, and outcomes. The outcomes evaluated included mortality, ECMO duration, and length of hospital stay for patients with Down syndrome and those with no Down syndrome. The study enrolled 2,815 patients qualified for inclusion. Of these patients, 121 had Down syndrome, whereas 2,694 had no genetic syndrome and were included in the control group. The median age of the patients was 45 days (interquartile range [IQR] 9-192 days), and the median weight was 3.8 kg (IQR 3.0-6.1 kg). The most common cardiac defects in Down syndrome group were common AV canal (63 %) and tetralogy of Fallot (40 %). The Down syndrome group included older patients with greater body weight than the control group. The mortality rate was lower in the Down syndrome group than in the control group (44 vs. 56 %; p = 0.01). The duration of ECMO and length of hospital stay were similar in the two groups. The findings showed that ECMO can be used for children with heart disease and Down syndrome with good results. The outcomes were comparable between the children with Down syndrome and the children without Down syndrome.

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