Successful primary use of VVDL+V ECMO with cephalic drain in neonatal respiratory failure

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To describe the use of double-lumen venovenous (VVDL) extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) with cephalic draining cannula (VVDL+V) as a primary approach for all neonatal respiratory diagnoses and to compare our single-center experience with data as collected in the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) database.


We retrospectively reviewed all cases of ECMO for neonatal respiratory failure performed in the neonatal intensive-care unit at a large referral children's hospital, the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston (CHOA-E). Comparisons were then made to neonatal respiratory ECMO data retrieved from the ELSO database.


At CHOA-E 162 of 189 cases were completed with the VVDL+V approach. Survival in the VVDL+V cohort was 89.1% versus 68.7% from ELSO, P < 0.001. For those complications considered, the overall risk of complication favored the CHOA-E VVDL +V group as compared with ELSO (odds ratio (OR) 0.71 (0.52-0.7)) as did the risk of neurologic complications (OR 0.29, (0.15-0.58)), including intracranial hemorrhage (OR 0.39 (0.18-0.97), P = 0.011).


The VVDL+V approach can be used successfully as the primary approach for ECMO for neonatal respiratory failure of various etiologies and in this single-center cohort this approach was associated with improved survival and lower rates of complication as compared with the ELSO database.

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