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ASAIO J. 2005 Sep-Oct;51(5):513-6.

Postoperative extracorporeal life support in pediatric cardiac surgery: recent results.

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Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Children's Hospital La Timone, Bd J. Moulin, 13005 Marseille, France.


We retrospectively reviewed the files of 19 extracorporeal life support (ECLS) applications performed after cardiac surgery in 15 patients from January 2002 to December 2004. We placed 16 arteriovenous ECLS applications with oxygenator, 2 venovenous ECLS applications with oxygenator, and 1 biventricular ECLS application without oxygenator (graft dysfunction after heart transplant). Mean age was 4.9 +/- 7 years (median 5.9 months, range 11 days to 21 years). All patients underwent surgery for congenital heart disease, except for one patient who had a heart transplant. Indications were hemodynamic failure in 12 cases, respiratory failure in 5 cases, and mixed failure in 2 cases. Four patients were undergoing cardiopulmonary resuscitation during ECLS placement (no deaths). Mean delay between surgery and ECLS placement was 3.2 +/- 3.4 days (median 2 days). Mean ECLS duration was 3.4 +/- 5.8 days (mean 6 days, range 3-16 days). Three patients had further surgery for residual lesions. Thirteen patients (86.7%) survived to ECLS weaning; 12 patients survived to hospital discharge (80%). No survivor presented obvious neurologic damage. Specific morbidity included reentry for bleeding, multiple transfusions, and mediastinitis. These results support early placement of ECLS in children whenever a severe postoperative hemodynamic or respiratory failure, refractory to medical treatment, is present.

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