Venovenous cannulation for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation using a bicaval dual-lumen catheter in neonates

J Pediatr Surg. 2012 Feb;47(2):430-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2011.10.055.


Purpose: Venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV-ECMO) has been used as a management strategy for neonates with refractory pulmonary failure. However, VV-ECMO has been limited in neonates secondary to cannula design and patient size. Herein, we describe the use of a bicaval dual-lumen catheter for VV-ECMO in neonates.

Methods: The medical records of all neonates cannulated for ECMO support with a bicaval dual-lumen 13F catheter from 2008 to 2010 were reviewed.

Results: Nine neonates cannulated with this dual-lumen catheter were identified. The median gestational age was 38 weeks (range, 31-40 weeks), the median weight was 3.4 kg (range, 2.2-5.5 kg), the median age at cannulation was 2 days (range, 1-64 days), and the median duration of ECMO support was 7 days (range, 5-23 days). There were no VV-to-VA conversions. The median pump flow both at 4 and 24 hours postcannulation was 300 mL/min (range, 240-370 mL/min). One patient developed cannula thrombosis, and one required cannula repositioning because of flow recirculation. Overall survival was 56%.

Conclusion: The dual-lumen bicaval catheter can be safely used in neonates with minimal complications and is our preferred method for VV-ECMO support in the neonatal population.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood
  • Catheterization / methods*
  • Catheters*
  • Equipment Design
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation / adverse effects
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation / instrumentation*
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation / methods
  • Gestational Age
  • Heart Atria
  • Hernia, Diaphragmatic / complications
  • Hernias, Diaphragmatic, Congenital
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / complications
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Partial Pressure
  • Pneumonia / complications
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vena Cava, Inferior
  • Vena Cava, Superior


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Oxygen