Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation as a Bridge to Lung Transplantation in the United States: A Multicenter Survey

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The clinical use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) as a bridge to lung transplantation (LTx) has greatly increased in recent years. However, clinical practices for ECMO as a bridge to LTx vary widely between LTx centers. To better define the current practice of ECMO as a bridge to LTx, we surveyed pre-LTx ECMO practices among all adult LTx programs in the United States. All US LTx centers were surveyed (n = 57) between January and December 2014. Responses were received from 33 of 57 centers (58%). Of 33 responding centers, six (18%) performed ≥50 LTxs per year (defined as high volume) and two (6%) performed <10 LTxs per year (low volume). Two-third of responding centers, 22/33 (67%), reported use of ECMO as a bridge to LTx. Of these 22 centers, 18 (82%) successfully used venovenous (VV) ECMO as a bridge to LTx using the dual-lumen Avalon cannula. Patient >65 years of age was judged an ECMO contraindication in 15/33 (45%) of responding centers, but 12/33 (36%) centers, including the six high-volume centers, had no official age cutoff for ECMO candidacy. There was no consensus on the maximum acceptable duration of pre-LTx ECMO therapy; although 18/33 (55%) of programs had no defined maximal duration of ECMO pre-LTx, 10/33 (30%) considered >10 days on ECMO support contraindicated. Our survey suggests that in the United States, ECMO is used frequently pre-LTx, particularly VV ECMO at high-volume centers. However, criteria for ECMO initiation, age eligibility, bedside care, and maximum duration of support varied significantly between survey respondents.

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