Send to

Choose Destination
Retina. 1993;13(3):202-7.

Ocular findings in neonates after extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

Author information

Doheny Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California School of Medicine.


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a modified, prolonged cardiopulmonary bypass procedure used to treat newborns who have reversible cardiac or respiratory failure. The venoarterial bypass technique requires cannulation of both the right carotid artery and the internal jugular vein, and after decannulation these vessels are permanently ligated. Left-sided retinal vascular changes after ECMO have been reported, and were attributed to ligation of these vessels. A retrospective review of the results of ocular examinations of 86 infants who had undergone ECMO therapy at Childrens Hospital in Los Angeles between March, 1987 and May, 1991 was conducted. Normal findings were noted in 73 infants. One infant had bilateral retinal vascular tortuosity, and 12 infants had incidental ocular findings, but there was no evidence of left-sided retinal hemorrhage, venous congestion, or tortuosity. Our results suggest that left-sided retinal vascular changes after ECMO do not occur, occur only rarely, or clear rapidly and result in no permanent retinal damage. To unequivocally rule out the possibility that ECMO can cause transitory retinal vascular changes, we recommend further prospective studies, with ocular examinations performed before, during, and after ECMO.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center