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J Thromb Haemost. 2015 Jun;13 Suppl 1:S336-42. doi: 10.1111/jth.12963.

Extracorporeal life support: the precarious balance of hemostasis.

Author information

1
The Department of Critical Care Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Abstract

Extracorporeal life support is by far the most extraordinary and complex form of extracorporeal technology used in the practice of critical care medicine. It is used to support critically ill patient who suffer acute respiratory or cardiac failure unresponsive to conventional support. As extracorporeal technologies have refined the pathophysiologic reaction that occurs at the blood/biomaterial interface has not been conquered; a new set of physiologic responses/derangements occur with the patient's exposure to the artificial circuit. Without this support mortality is near certain and with support if management is not precise and judicious the complications can be catastrophic. The management of a patient on ECLS is the same as for any critically ill patient with the added need for anticoagulation to maintain patency of the extracorporeal circuit without causing bleeding within the patient and thrombosis within the circuitry or the patient. This is the precarious balance of hemostasis during ECLS.

KEYWORDS:

blood coagulation; blood coagulation tests; extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; platelets; thrombosis

PMID:
26149045
DOI:
10.1111/jth.12963
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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