Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and severe acute respiratory distress secondary to Legionella: 10 year experience

ASAIO J. May-Jun 2013;59(3):328-30. doi: 10.1097/MAT.0b013e31829119c6.


Legionella-associated respiratory failure has a high mortality, despite modern ventilation modalities. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is used to achieve gas exchange independent of pulmonary function in patients with severe respiratory failure. This was a retrospective review of the management and outcome of patients with Legionella-associated respiratory failure treated with ECMO support in a large ECMO center over the past 10 years. A retrospective review of patients with confirmed Legionella-associated severe respiratory failure managed with ECMO support at a single center. Between 2000 and 2010, 19 patients with severe respiratory failure caused by Legionella were managed with ECMO after failure to respond to conventional intensive care management. Median PaO2/FiO2 ratio was 66 and median pCO2 was 60 torr. Sixteen patients (84%) survived to hospital discharge. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation should be considered in patients with Legionella-associated respiratory failure, who have failed conventional ventilation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation / adverse effects
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Legionella*
  • Legionellosis / complications*
  • Legionellosis / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / microbiology*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / therapy*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome