Long venous cannula on the arterial position for VA-ECMO

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Differential hypoxia and the arterial mixing zone are two important factors in managing peripheral veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO). With the aim of improving perfusion to the aortic arch branches and coronaries, we describe our approach for VA-ECMO cannulation: bicaval drainage through the femoral vein and proximal retrograde ECMO flow using a multi-stage venous cannula inserted in the femoral artery and the tip placed at the proximal descending thoracic aorta. We report the use of this VA-ECMO approach on a 15-year-old female with combined cardiorespiratory failure and on a 12-year-old male with acute cardiac failure.

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