The use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support for cardiac and respiratory failure has increased in recent years. Improvements in ECMO oxygenator and pump technologies have aided this increase in utilization. Additionally, reports of successful outcomes in supporting patients with respiratory failure during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and reports of ECMO during cardiopulmonary resuscitation have led to increased uptake of ECMO. Patients requiring ECMO are a heterogenous group of critically ill patients with cardiac and respiratory failure. Bleeding and thrombotic complications remain a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in patients on ECMO. In this review, we describe the mechanisms and management of hemostatic, thrombotic and hemolytic complications during ECMO support.
Keywords: Anticoagulants; Disseminated intravascular coagulation; Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; Fibrinolysis; Hemorrhage; Hemostasis; Thrombosis.
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