Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for pediatric respiratory failure: Survival and predictors of mortality

Crit Care Med. 2011 Feb;39(2):364-70. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0b013e3181fb7b35.


Objective: The last multicentered analysis of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in pediatric acute respiratory failure was completed in 1993. We reviewed recent international data to evaluate survival and predictors of mortality.

Design: Retrospective case series review.

Setting: The Extracorporeal Life Support Organization Registry, which includes data voluntarily submitted from over 115 centers worldwide, was queried. The work was completed at the Division of Pediatric Critical Care, Department of Pediatrics, Primary Children's Medical Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.

Subjects: Patients aged 1 month to 18 yrs supported with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for acute respiratory failure from 1993 to 2007.

Interventions: None.

Measurements and main results: There were 3,213 children studied. Overall survival remained relatively unchanged over time at 57%. Considerable variability in survival was found based on pulmonary diagnosis, ranging from 83% for status asthmaticus to 39% for pertussis. Comorbidities significantly decreased survival to 33% for those with renal failure (n = 329), 16% with liver failure (n = 51), and 5% with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (n = 22). The proportion of patients with comorbidities increased from 19% during 1993 to 47% in 2007. Clinical factors associated with mortality included precannulation ventilatory support longer than 2 wks and lower precannulation blood pH.

Conclusions: Although the survival of pediatric patients with acute respiratory failure treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation has not changed, this treatment is currently offered to increasingly medically complex patients. Mechanical ventilation in excess of 2 wks before the initiation of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is associated with decreased survival.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Cause of Death*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Critical Illness / mortality
  • Critical Illness / therapy
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation / methods*
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation / mortality
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality / trends*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / diagnosis
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / mortality*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Distribution
  • Survival Analysis
  • Utah