Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation has been used as rescue therapy for respiratory failure caused by pandemic hemagglutanin-1 and neuroaminadase-1 (H1N1) influenza, but it is unclear as to whether it can be also used for refractory circulatory failure. A previously healthy 29-year-old woman presented with pneumonitis and septic shock. She deteriorated, despite multiple pharmacologic and ventilatory strategies, so she was placed on central (atrio-aortic) extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for 4 days. After a protracted intensive care stay, she recovered and is undergoing rehabilitation. In particularly severe cases of H1N1 influenza, central extracorporeal membrane oxygenation can completely supplant both cardiac and pulmonary function until the patient recovers from the infection.
2010 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.