Use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation as a bridge to primary lung transplant: 3 consecutive, successful cases and a review of the literature

J Heart Lung Transplant. 2008 Mar;27(3):348-52. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2007.12.006.


Many transplant centers have considered extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) to be a contraindication to lung transplantation, due to historically poor outcomes. However, recent advances in the technical aspects of ECMO have enabled patients to be supported with relative safety for several weeks until a donor lung becomes available. We present 3 young patients with acute (in 1 case, acute on chronic), severe respiratory failure that was refractory to conventional ventilation, who were placed on venovenous ECMO. In each case, a clinical decision was made that the patient's respiratory failure was irreversible and they were successfully managed with urgent lung transplantation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation*
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Lung / surgery
  • Lung Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / physiopathology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / surgery*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome