Four neonates (three having undergone repair of a congenital diaphragmatic hernia and developing a persistent fetal circulatory pattern and one having severe infant respiratory distress syndrome) have been supported with prolonged extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh between December of 1979 and April of 1980. Three have survived. This encouraging experience indicates that the pattern of persistent fetal circulation in the newborn infant who has undergone repair of a diaphragmatic hernia can be successfully managed with ECMO even when efforts to lower pulmonary hypertension and improve oxygenation with vasodilators (tolazoline, phenothiazine, acetylcholine, or prostaglandin E 1) and have been ineffective. The effectiveness and safety of ECMO is convincing enough to warrant its consideration as therapy for congenital diaphragmatic hernia and persistent fetal circulation prior to the use of vasodilators.
Hardesty, R. L., Griffith, B. P., Debski, R. F., Jeffries, M. R., & Borovetz, H. S. (1981). Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Successful treatment of persistent fetal circulation following repair of congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 81(4), 556–563. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-5223(19)39487-5