Cannula Design and Recirculation During Venovenous Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation

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Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is used as a lifesaving rescue treatment in refractory respiratory or cardiac failure. During venovenous (VV) ECMO, the presence of recirculation is known, but quantification and actions to minimize recirculation after measurement are to date not routinely practiced. In the current study, we investigated the effect of draining cannula design on recirculation fraction (Rf) during VV ECMO; conventional mesh cannula was compared with a multistage cannula. The effect of adjusting cannula position was also studied. Recirculation was measured with ultrasound dilution technique at different ECMO flows and after cannula repositioning. All patients who were admitted to our unit between October 2014 and July 2015 catheterized by the atrio-femoral single lumen method were included. A total of 108 measurements were conducted in 14 patients. The multistage cannula showed significantly less recirculation (19.0 ± 12.2%) compared with the conventional design (38.0 ± 13.7). Pooled data in cases improved from adjustment showing reduced Rf by 7%. In conclusion, the choice of cannula matters, as does adjustment of the draining cannula position during atrio-femoral VV ECMO. By utilizing the ultrasound dilution technique to measure Rf before and after repositioning, effective ECMO flow can be improved for a more effective ECMO treatment.

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