Venovenous Versus Venoarterial Extracorporeal Membranous Oxygenation in Inotrope Dependent Pediatric Patients with Respiratory Failure

Besma Jaber, Melania M. Bembea, Laura L. Loftis, Philip C. Spinella, Liyun Zhang, Pippa M. Simpson, Sheila J. Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients with respiratory failure requiring inotropes or vasopressors are often placed on venoarterial (VA) extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), as venovenous (VV) ECMO does not provide direct circulatory support. This retrospective multicenter study compared outcomes for 103 pediatric patients, with hemodynamic compromise, placed on VV ECMO for respiratory failure to those placed on VA ECMO. The primary outcome was survival to hospital discharge. Fifty-seven (55%) study participants were supported on VV ECMO. The two groups had similar PRISM III scores at pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission, and vasoactive-inotropic scores at ECMO cannulation. More VV ECMO patients received inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) (54.4 vs. 34.8%; p = 0.04) and had a higher oxygenation index (median 41.5 vs. 19.5; p = 0.04) pre-ECMO. More VA ECMO patients had cardiac dysfunction and cardiac arrest pre-ECMO (50 vs. 14%; p < 0.0001). In univariable analysis, survival to hospital discharge was higher in the VV vs. VA ECMO group (72 vs. 44%; p = 0.005), however, in multivariable models, cannulation type was confounded by cardiopulmonary resuscitation and was not independently associated with survival. VV survivors had longer ECMO duration compared with VA survivors (median, 7 vs. 4.5 days; p = 0.036) but similar PICU and hospital days. No significant difference was noted in functional outcomes or comorbidities at discharge. Cannulation type is not independently associated with survival to hospital discharge in pediatric patients on vasoactive infusions at the time of ECMO cannulation for respiratory indications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-462
Number of pages6
JournalASAIO Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • catheterization
  • extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • intensive care units
  • pediatric
  • respiratory insufficiency
  • vasoconstrictor agents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering

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