Use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), one of an increasing variety of mechanical circulatory support strategies, was first used close to 50 years ago. For decades, it was mostly applied to the pediatric population. However, during the past several years, its use has dramatically increased as therapy for pulmonary and cardiac failure in the adult. In particular, ECMO is being used more and more for postcardiotomy shock. Unfortunately, despite its increased application in this setting, improved outcomes have been hard to come by. Improved results must be grounded on an approach that honors the tenets of myocardial recovery, minimizing the work done by the heart during the recovery period. Left ventricular decompression should be a tenet of ECMO support in the setting of postcardiotomy shock, universally applied if we are to see any significant improvement in our results. Furthermore, the point is made that surgeons should play a leadership role in the immediate counseling of patients' families to assure realistic expectations on their part. To address the need for family support during this very difficult time, ECMO centers should design a programmatic approach to care for patients and their families so as to provide them with education, guidance, and emotional support.
- cost of ECMO
- ethics of ECMO
- extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
- postcardiotomy shock
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine