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Perfusion. 2006 Jan;21(1):73-6.

Respiratory failure of two sp gastric bypass patients and subsequent rescue with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia Campus, USA.


Severe obesity is a chronic condition that is difficult to treat through diet and exercise alone. Gastrointestinal surgery for obesity (bariatric surgery) alters the digestive process by either restrictive surgical alterations or malabsorptive operations. Some 10-20% of patients who have weight-loss surgery require follow-up operations to correct complications. Hypoxemia after gastric bypass surgery for morbid obesity, a reported complication, can occur as early as 24 h post surgery. Two patients presented with severe hypoxia and were placed on veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Patient No. 1 had an obstruction of the alimentary limb of the gastric bypass due to suture adhesions, and patient No. 2 had an incarcerated diaphragmatic hernia. While on ECMO, ventilation using a protective strategy (60% FiO2, pressure-controlled ventilation inspiratory pressure (PCV) IP 25-27, positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) 10-14, permissive hypercapnia) was employed. An inflow cannula to the level of the right atrium served as arterial outflow from the circuit to the patient, while the femoral vein served as venous inflow to the ECMO circuit. Although ECMO in adult respiratory failure is often used as the last resort due to serious associated adverse events, we report two patients with life-threatening complications from gastric bypass who were rescued, resuscitated to day 7, and uneventfully discharged from the hospital to home.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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