• Vol. 43 No. 7, 355–361
  • 15 July 2014

Neonatal and Paediatric Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) in a Single Asian Tertiary Centre

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a cardiopulmonary bypass technique (CPB) which provides life-saving support in patients with refractory cardiorespiratory failure until cardiopulmonary recovery or organ replacement.

Materials and Methods: This is a single centre retrospective study reporting the largest series of paediatric patients in Singapore who received ECMO support over an 11-year period from January 2002 to December 2012. The objective is to describe the characteristics of the patients and to report the survival to hospital discharge, complications during ECMO and other long-term complications.

Results: Forty-eight patients received ECMO during the study period. ECMO was initiated for myocarditis in majority of the paediatric patients whereas postoperative low cardiac output state was the most common indication in the neonatal population. The overall survival rate to hospital discharge was 45.8%. Survival was highest in the neonates with respiratory failure (75%). Haematological and cardiac complications were most common during ECMO. Age group, gender, duration of ECMO, need for renal replacement therapy, acute neurological complications were not associated with mortality. Those needing inotropic support during ECMO had poorer survival while those with hypertension requiring vasodilator treatment had a higher survival rate. The survival rates for ECMO patients more than doubled from the initial 6 years of 23% to 54% in the last 5 years of the study period. Long-term complications encountered included neurological, respiratory and cardiac problems.

Conclusion: Fortyeight patients received ECMO during the study period. ECMO was initiated for myocarditis in majority of the paediatric patients whereas postoperative low cardiac output state was the most common indication in the neonatal population. The overall survival rate to hospital discharge was 45.8%. Survival was highest in the neonates with respiratory failure (75%). Haematological and cardiac complications were most common during ECMO. Age group, gender, duration of ECMO, need for renal replacement therapy, acute neurological complications were not associated with mortality. Those needing inotropic support during ECMO had poorer survival while those with hypertension requiring vasodilator treatment had a higher survival rate. The survival rates for ECMO patients more than doubled from the initial 6 years of 23% to 54% in the last 5 years of the study period. Long-term complications encountered included neurological, respiratory and cardiac problems.


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a cardiopulmonary bypass technique (CPB) introduced by Bartlett in 1972, which provides life-saving support in patients with refractory yet reversible cardiorespiratory failure until organ recovery or organ transplantation. Since the first report of successful ECMO support in an adult was published by Hill in 1972, there have been over 45,000 cases in the ECMO Registry of Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO), including over 27,000 newborns and 9000 children.

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