Clinical experience with 202 adults receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for cardiac failure: survival at five years

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2001 Jul;122(1):92-102. doi: 10.1067/mtc.2001.114351.


Objectives: We sought to determine 5-year survival after extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for cardiac failure and its predictors, to assess survival and its predictors after bridging to transplantation or weaning from extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, and to identify factors influencing the likelihood of these outcomes.

Methods: Two hundred two adults (mean age, 55 +/- 14 years) were supported with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation between 1992 and July 1999 after cardiac failure. Follow-up extended to 7.5 years (mean, 3.8 +/- 2 years). Multivariable hazard function analysis identified predictors of survival, and logistic regression identified the determinants of bridging or weaning.

Results: Survival at 3 days, 30 days, and 5 years was 76%, 38%, and 24%, respectively. Patients surviving 30 days had a 63% 5-year survival. Risk factors (P <.1) included older age, reoperation, and thoracic aorta repair. Forty-eight patients were bridged to transplantation, and 71 were weaned with intent for survival. Survival was similar after either outcome (44% vs 40% 5-year survival, respectively). Failure to bridge or wean included (P <.03) renal and hepatic failure on extracorporeal membrane oxygenator support, occurrence of a neurologic event, and absence of infection. The dominant modes of death were cardiac failure and multisystem organ failure.

Conclusions: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is versatile and salvages some patients who would otherwise die. Improvement in intermediate-term outcome will require a multidisciplinary approach to protect organ function and limit organ injury before and during this support.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / mortality*
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Heart Transplantation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors


  • Creatinine