Nonejecting Hearts on Femoral Veno-Arterial Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation: Aortic Root Blood Stasis and Thrombus Formation—A Case Series and Review of the Literature

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Abstract

Objectives:

Cardiogenic shock constitutes the final common pathway of cardiac dysfunction associated with tissue hypoperfusion and organ failure. Besides treatment of the underlying cause, temporary mechanical circulatory support serves as a supportive measure. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation can effectively prevent hypoxemia and end-organ dysfunction, but knowledge about patient selection, risks, and complications remains sparse.

Data Sources:

Clinical observation.

Study Selection:

Case report and review of the literature.

Data Extraction:

Relevant clinical information. Online databases, including PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and OVID, were searched for previous publications.

Data Synthesis:

We report six cases of patients in refractory cardiogenic shock receiving emergency femoral veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support complicated by echocardiographic evidence of absent blood flow, sedimentation, and thrombus formation in the aortic root.

Conclusions:

Patients in cardiogenic shock who require femoral veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support are at risk of developing a state of nonejecting heart with thrombus formation in the aortic root. Echocardiography is the cornerstone of diagnosis and documentation of treatment effects. Depending on the likelihood of the presence of clinically relevant thrombotic material in the aortic root, we propose a treatment algorithm for this group of high-risk patients.

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