Development and Implementation of a Comprehensive, Multidisciplinary Emergency Department Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Program

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Despite advances in the medical and surgical management of cardiovascular disease, greater than 350,000 patients experience out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the United States annually, with only a 12% neurologically favorable survival rate. Of these patients, 23% have an initial shockable rhythm of ventricular fibrillation/pulseless ventricular tachycardia (VF/VT), a marker of high probability of acute coronary ischemia (80%) as the precipitating factor. However, few patients (22%) will experience return of spontaneous circulation and sufficient hemodynamic stability to undergo cardiac catheterization and revascularization. Previous case series and observational studies have demonstrated the successful application of intra-arrest extracorporeal life support, including to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims, with a neurologically favorable survival rate of up to 53%. For patients with refractory cardiac arrest, strategies are needed to bridge them from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest to the catheterization laboratory and revascularization. To address this gap, we expanded our ICU and perioperative extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) program to the emergency department (ED) to reach this cohort of patients to improve survival. In this report, we illustrate our process and initial experience of developing a multidisciplinary team for rapid deployment of ED ECMO as a template for institutions interested in building their own ED ECMO programs.

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