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Ann Thorac Surg. 2012 Sep;94(3):874-9; discussion 879-80. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2012.04.040. Epub 2012 Jun 13.

Extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation for pediatric cardiac patients.

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Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.



Extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR) has been shown to improve survival after in-hospital pediatric cardiac arrest. We describe our experience with ECPR for refractory cardiac arrest in pediatric cardiac patients.


We performed a retrospective analysis of the use of venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for in-hospital cardiac arrest from 2002 to 2011. The primary endpoint was survival to discharge, and the secondary endpoint was long-term functional neurologic status.


Of 160 total uses of cardiac ECMO in 159 patients, 90 (56%) were ECPR (mean age 2.05 years; range, 0 days to 16.5 years). Sixty-four patients (71%) were postoperative, of which 36 were single ventricle and 28 were biventricular. Nine patients (10%) had cardiomyopathy-myocarditis, and 17 patients (19%) were nonpostoperative (5 single ventricle; 12 biventricular). Fifty-nine patients (66%) had open chest cannulation, and 31 (34%) had peripheral cannulation. Fifty patients (56%) survived to discharge. Duration of ECMO was 4.3±4.0 days (median 3) for survivors and 6.3±5.4 days (median 5) for nonsurvivors (p<0.05). On follow-up, almost half of survivors without genetic syndromes had normal neurologic status.


Extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation is an appropriate application of ECMO in pediatric cardiac patients. We report overall survival of 56%. Cardiomyopathy patients have favorable outcomes (89% survival). Biventricular patients have better outcomes then single ventricle patients (p<0.01). Extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation also seems to be a good strategy for nonpostoperative patients (71% survival). Nearly half of postoperative patients (46%) resuscitated with ECPR survived to hospital discharge.

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