'Awake ECMO' May Boost Survival After Lung Transplant

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 5:10am
Kurt Ullman

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) as a bridge to lung transplantation increased survival compared with mechanical ventilation in awake, spontaneously breathing patients, according to a retrospective study.

Survival at six months was 80% in those receiving "awake ECMO" compared with 50% in those who received mechanical ventilation (P=0.02) reported Marius M. Hoeper, MD, from Hannover Medical School in Hannover, Germany, and colleagues in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Those who were in the awake ECMO group also had a shorter course of mechanical ventilation after transplant surgery (P=0.04), the group said.

Mechanical ventilation is associated with poor outcomes as a bridge to transplant. As waiting times for lung transplantation increase, the researchers wanted to determine if ECMO in awake patients who were breathing without assistance could prove useful.

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