Use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for eCPR in the emergency room in patients with refractory out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

BACKGROUND:Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) refractory to conventional high-quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may be rescued by extracorporeal CPR (eCPR) using veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (V-A ECMO). Even when trying to identify eCPR candidates based on criteria assumed to be associated with a favourable neurological outcome, reported survival rates are frequently below 10%. METHODS:All patients undergoing implantation of V-A ECMO for eCPR between January 2018 and December 2019 (N = 40) were analysed (age 53±13 years; 75% male). Patients with refractory OHCA and potentially favourable circumstances (initial shockable rhythm, witnessed arrest, bystander CPR, absence of limiting comorbidities, age <75 years) were transported under mechanical chest compression. Candidates for eCPR should have a pH ≥6.9, arterial lactate ≤15 mmol/L and time-to-ECMO should be ≤60 minutes. RESULTS:Overall 30-day survival was 12.5%, with 3 of 5 survivors having a favourable neurological outcome (cerebral performance category (CPC) 1 or 2), representing 7.5% of the total eCPR population. No patient selected for eCPR met all pre-defined criteria (median of unfavourable criteria: 3). Importantly, time-to-ECMO most often (39/40) exceeded 60 minutes (mean 102 ±32 min.), and lactate was >15mmol/L in 30 out of 40 patients. Moreover, 22 out of 40 patients had a non-shockable rhythm on the first ECG. CONCLUSIONS:Despite our intention to select patients with potentially advantageous circumstances to achieve acceptable eCPR outcomes, the imminent deadly consequence of withholding eCPR obviously prompted individual physicians to perform the procedure also in presumably more unfavourable settings, resulting in similar mortality rates of eCPR as reported before.


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