Prognostic determinants in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for respiratory failure in newborns

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Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is becoming an accepted therapeutic modality for newborn respiratory failure, but there is little information available regarding the prognostic determinants with this technique. One hundred thirty-five newborns treated with ECMO over a 4-year period were critically analyzed with regard to the influence that birth weight, gestational age, age at initiation of ECMO, best blood gases before ECMO, number of hours on ECMO, renal failure, intracerebral hemorrhage, and long-distance air transport had on survival. Infants with meconium aspiration and those undergoing long-distance transfer showed significant differences in blood gases before ECMO, with survivors having mote normal pH and carbon dioxide tension values. Intracerebral hemorrhage and renal failure that developed during ECMO were grave prognostic signs, with few survivors in either group. These data show that ability to ventilate patients before ECMO, giving normal carbon dioxide tension and pH values, is an important prognostic sign in infants with meconium aspiration and undergoing long-distance transfer for ECMO, whereas renal failure and intracerebral hemorrhage are usually lethal complications of ECMO. Each center performing ECMO should continually reevaluate this invasive technique and its results and complications. © 1990.




Weber, T. R., Connors, R. H., Tracy, T. F., Bailey, P. V., Stephens, C., & Keenan, W. (1990). Prognostic determinants in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for respiratory failure in newborns. The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 50(5), 720–723.

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