Survival and Long-Term Functional Outcomes for Children With Cardiac Arrest Treated With Extracorporeal Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

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To identify patient- and disease-related factors related to survival and favorable outcomes for children who underwent extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation after a refractory cardiac arrest.


Retrospective observational study with prospective assessment of long-term functional outcome.


Fifty-six consecutive children undergoing extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation at our institution from 2007 to 2015. Median age at arrest was 3.5 months (interquartile range, 1–53).


Tertiary pediatric university hospital with a referral heart center.


Health-related quality of life and family functioning assessment with the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory and the McMaster Family Assessment Device.

Measurements and Main Results:

Fifty-eight consecutive extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation episodes were included, with 46 (79.3%) related to primary cardiac conditions. Initial cannulation site was central in 19 (32.8%) and peripheral in 39 (67.2%). Survival to decannulation was 77.6% with survival at hospital discharge and at the end of the follow-up period being 65.5% and 62.1%, respectively. Time to follow-up was 38 months (interquartile range, 19–52). Patients who survived tended to be younger (3.5 mo [1 mo to 2 yr] vs 7 mo [1.25 mo to 17 yr]; p = 0.3) with decreased extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation times (28 min [15–47 min] vs 37.5 min [28.5–55 min]; p = 0.04). Those who received therapeutic hypothermia tended to have higher hospital survival (21/28 [75%] vs 16/29 [55%]; p = 0.08). Follow-up assessments of survivors demonstrated good quality of life and family functioning (Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory, 84 [76–89.5]; McMaster Family Assessment Device, 1.62 [1.33–1.83]).


In this series, extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation was associated with relatively high survival rates and a good health-related quality of life and family functioning. Larger series are needed to assess whether this technique should be more broadly available in the pediatric critical care community.

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