Pediatric extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in posttraumatic respiratory failure

J Pediatr Surg. 1991 Sep;26(9):1011-4; discussion 1014-5. doi: 10.1016/0022-3468(91)90664-f.


The leading cause of death in the pediatric population in the United States is trauma. A retrospective review of patients treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for traumatic respiratory failure was performed. Eight children were treated at the Ochsner Medical Foundation and additional data on six children were available from the National Registry. Six children developed respiratory failure as a result of blunt trauma and eight as a result of near drowning. Standard venoarterial ECMO was used with a circuit very similar to that used in neonatal ECMO. Vascular access was via the common carotid artery and the internal jugular vein. Ventilatory support was weaned to minimal settings during ECMO. Central hyperalimentation and systemic antibiotics were used in all of the cases. Four of six children survived in the blunt trauma group; three of eight children survived in the near drowning group. Although significant conclusions cannot be drawn from a small group of patients the average pre-ECMO PO2 for survivors was 87 mm Hg, whereas for nonsurvivors the average PO2 was only 46 mm Hg. Ventilatory support for both groups was not remarkably different, and the average PCO2 was lower in the nonsurvivor group. The cause of death in this group of patients is usually multisystem organ failure. In the four patients treated at Ochsner who did not survive, all had positive blood cultures and presumed systemic sepsis. ECMO has been demonstrated to be very successful in neonatal respiratory failure. Predicting mortality and morbidity in pediatric respiratory failure has been more difficult.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Near Drowning / complications*
  • Prognosis
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications*