Nutritional support in patients with extracorporeal life support and ventricular assist devices

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Extracorporeal life support (ECLS) including venovenous and venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and ventricular assist devices (VAD) provide mechanical pulmonary and circulatory support, respectively, in patients with acute pulmonary or cardiovascular failure. This review discusses recently published data regarding specific topics of nutritional support in patients with ECLS and VAD.

Recent findings

ECLS may aggravate loss of endogenous and exogenous micronutrients and macronutrients. Observational studies have shown that enteral nutrition is feasible and most commonly used in patients with ECLS. Indirect calorimetry may be feasible for measuring energy expenditure during ECLS. Specific tools are available to assess malnutrition or nutrition risk in patients with VAD but require further validation in the perioperative setting. If parenteral nutrition is indicated, the use of intravenous lipid emulsions may be associated with membrane oxygenator dysfunction of the ECLS device or increased infectious risk in patients with VAD.

Summary

Despite the exponential use of ECLS and VAD over the last decade, the role of nutrition on clinical outcome in this patient population remains an important but yet underinvestigated field.

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