Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation for Bridge to Heart Transplantation Among Children in the United States
Analysis of Data From the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network and Extracorporeal Life Support Organization Registry
Background—Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has served for >2 decades as the standard of care for US children requiring mechanical support as a bridge to heart transplantation. Objective data on the safety and efficacy of ECMO for this indication are limited. We describe the outcomes of ECMO as a bridge to heart transplantation to serve as performance benchmarks for emerging miniaturized assist devices intended to replace ECMO.
Methods and Results—Data from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization Registry and the Organ Procurement Transplant Network database were merged to identify children supported with ECMO and listed for heart transplantation from 1994 to 2009. Independent predictors of wait-list and posttransplantation in-hospital mortality were identified. Objective performance goals for ECMO were developed. Of 773 children, the median age was 6 months (interquartile range, 1 to 44 months); 28% had cardiomyopathy; and in 38%, a bridge to transplantation was intended at ECMO initiation. Overall, 45% of subjects reached transplantation, although one third of those transplanted died before discharge; overall survival to hospital discharge was 47%. Wait-list mortality was independently associated with congenital heart disease, cardiopulmonary resuscitation before ECMO, and renal dysfunction. Posttransplantation mortality was associated with congenital heart disease, renal dysfunction, ECMO duration of >14 days, and initial ECMO indication as a bridge to recovery. In the objective performance goal cohort (n=485), patients with cardiomyopathy had the highest survival to hospital discharge (63%), followed by patients with myocarditis (59%), 2-ventricle congenital heart disease (44%) and 1-ventricle congenital heart disease (33%).
Conclusion—Although ECMO is effective for short-term circulatory support, it is not reliable for the long-term circulatory support necessary for children awaiting heart transplantation. Fewer than half of patients bridged with ECMO survive to hospital discharge. More effective modalities for chronic circulatory support in children are urgently needed.
- heart defects, congenital
- extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
- outcome assessment
- heart failure
- heart-assist device
- Received September 27, 2010.
- Accepted April 15, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.