Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging Findings in Pediatric Patients Post Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation

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Neurologic complications can occur with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) due to several factors. Prior studies identified neonates as having unique risk factors and neuroimaging findings post ECMO. The aim of this study is to describe brain magnetic resonance imaging findings of pediatric patients treated with ECMO. We conducted a retrospective study of nonneonatal pediatric patients who underwent a comprehensive brain magnetic resonance imaging after ECMO between January 2000 and July 2015. We identified 47 pediatric patients in the study cohort with a median age of 8 months (interquartile range 3–170 months) and a median ECMO run duration of 7.15 days (interquartile range 3.8–10.3 days). Among indications for ECMO cannulation, 12 (25.5%) were cardiac, 23 (48.9%) were respiratory, and 12 (25.5%) were extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation cannulations. There were 33 (70.2%) veno-arterial cannulations of which 14 (42%) were transthoracic cannulations. There were 13 patients (27.7%) with an overall incidence of stroke: 8 patients had exclusive ischemic strokes, 2 had hemorrhagic strokes, and 3 had mixed types of stroke. The number of strokes in patients on veno-arterial ECMO was significantly decreased in patients undergoing transthoracic cannulation when compared with peripheral cannulation (7 vs. 42%, p = 0.05). Further study will be used to identify risk factors for neurological injury after ECMO and to look for outcome predictors based on neuroradiologic findings.

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