Double lumen bi-cava cannula for veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation as bridge to lung transplantation in non-intubated patient

Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2012 Jan;14(1):125-7. doi: 10.1093/icvts/ivr046. Epub 2011 Nov 17.


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is used for refractory respiratory failure. Normally, ECMO is implanted in intubated patients as a last resort. We report the case of a non-intubated patient who benefited from veno-venous (VV) ECMO. A 35-year old cystic fibrosis man presented a severe respiratory decompensation with refractory hypercapnia. We opted for an ECMO instead of mechanical ventilation (MV). We implanted a double lumen bi-cava cannula (DLC) (Avalon Elite(TM)) in the right jugular vein. Before ECMO implantation, the patient presented refractory respiratory failure (pH = 7.1, PaO(2) = 83 mmHg, PaCO(2 )= 103 mmHg). We proposed that the patient be placed on the high emergency lung transplantation waiting list after failure to wean him from ECMO. This registration was effective 10 days after ECMO implantation. The patient was grafted the next day. Under ECMO, mean PaO(2), PaCO(2) and TCA were 80.6 ± 14.2, 53.8 ± 6.4 mmHg and 56.2 ± 9.7 s, respectively. The patient could eat, drink, talk and practice chest physiotherapy. The evolution was uneventful under ECMO. Weaning from ECMO was done in the operating theatre after transplantation. VV ECMO with DLC is safe and feasible in non-intubated patients. It avoids potential complications of MV, and allows respiratory assistance as bridge to transplantation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Catheterization, Peripheral / instrumentation*
  • Catheters*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications
  • Cystic Fibrosis / surgery
  • Equipment Design
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation / instrumentation*
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation / methods
  • Humans
  • Lung Transplantation / methods*
  • Male
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*