Left ventricular unloading during veno-arterial ECMO: a review of percutaneous and surgical unloading interventions

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Short-term mechanical support by veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA ECMO) is more and more applied in patients with severe cardiogenic shock. A major shortcoming of VA ECMO is its variable, but inherent increase of left ventricular (LV) mechanical load, which may aggravate pulmonary edema and hamper cardiac recovery. In order to mitigate these negative sequelae of VA ECMO, different adjunct LV unloading interventions have gained a broad interest in recent years. Here, we review the whole spectrum of percutaneous and surgical techniques combined with VA ECMO reported to date.

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