Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for neonatal collapse caused by enterovirus myocarditis

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To describe the effect of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) on survival and cardiac outcome of neonates with myocardial failure secondary to severe enterovirus (EV) myocarditis.


Retrospective case series.


A 15-bed cardiac paediatric intensive care unit (ICU).


We describe the clinical presentations, cardiac findings, ECMO characteristics and outcome of seven neonates with severe EV myocarditis. Additionally, 35 previously reported cases of EV myocarditis supported with ECMO are presented.


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.


Seven neonates presented with cardiovascular collapse within the first 10 days after birth and required ECMO support. Echocardiography showed left ventricular dysfunction in all and additional right ventricular dysfunction in four patients. ECG showing widespread ST changes as well as elevated troponin I indicated myocardial damage. All patients were cannulated onto ECMO shortly after ICU admission. None of the patients suffered cardiac arrest prior to ECMO initiation. Four patients survived ECMO and three survived to hospital discharge. All three survivors showed complete cardiac recovery after a median follow-up of 34 months. The survival rate in 35 previously reported cases was 34% (12/35) and including our seven cases 36% (15/42).


In this case series, ECMO initiation prevented further deterioration and cardiac arrest in neonates with severe EV myocarditis and not responding to conventional medical therapies. Moreover, complete cardiac recovery occurred in survivors. However, these neonates may need long ECMO runs and are at increased risk for mechanical complications. Furthermore, mortality remains high due to greater disease severity.

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