Utility of neuroradiographic imaging in predicting outcomes after neonatal extracorporeal membrane oxygenation

J Pediatr Surg. 2012 Jan;47(1):76-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2011.10.016.


Background: The need for routine neuroimaging after extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and the optimal radiographic study remains unclear. We sought to evaluate the correlation between findings on head ultrasound (HUS) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and determine the association of these findings to neurodevelopmental outcome.

Methods: A retrospective review was performed (2003-2010) to identify neonates who had a MRI after ECMO. Each MRI was reviewed by a single pediatric neuroradiologist. Neurodevelopmental data was collected from the high-risk neonatal follow-up clinic.

Results: Fifty neonates had a MRI (venoarterial 37, venovenous 13) after ECMO. HUS was abnormal in 24%, whereas MRI was abnormal in 62%. All infants with an abnormal HUS had an abnormal MRI, but an additional 50% of patients with a normal HUS had an abnormal MRI. Venoarterial ECMO was significantly associated with an abnormal MRI. Follow-up data was available for 26 neonates. The only predictor of abnormal neurodevelopment was the need for supplemental tube feeds at discharge.

Conclusions: MRI identified significantly more abnormalities compared to routine HUS after neonatal ECMO. However, neither MRI nor HUS findings correlated with early neurodevelopmental outcome. Feeding ability at discharge was the overall best predictor of neurologic impairment in survivors.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Echoencephalography*
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Neuroradiography
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome