Cerebral microbleeds after use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in children

J Neuroimaging. 2013 Jan;23(1):75-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6569.2012.00723.x. Epub 2012 May 18.


Cerebral microbleeds (CMB) on gradient-recalled echo (GRE) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are rarely seen in children, yet have been described following vascular procedures in adults. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has been associated with vascular injury and neurological events in children, but there have been no reports to date of GRE MRI findings in children treated with ECMO. We reviewed MRI scans for all vascular neurology consultations in children treated with ECMO at an academic medical center over a 5-year period. In 6 of 12 cases, GRE was acquired as others were unstable or had contraindications to MRI. All 6 of 6 (100%) GRE cases (mean age 2.1 years, 7 female, 5 male) demonstrated CMB. CMB were multiple (>3 lesions), situated in cortical or lobar regions, with a striking predominance (5/6 cases) for the right carotid distribution. Other than CMB, no cases demonstrated intracranial hemorrhage. CMB may be noted on GRE MRI after ECMO and may reflect vascular damage from gaseous emboli.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / pathology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male