Veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation without therapeutic anticoagulation for intra-operative cardiopulmonary support during lung transplantation

J Thorac Dis. 2017 Jul;9(7):E629-E631. doi: 10.21037/jtd.2017.06.11.


Cardiopulmonary support is frequently required during lung transplantation. Veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) has been recently shown to be an acceptable and, perhaps, safer alternative to cardiopulmonary bypass machine (CBM) for lung transplantation. However, therapeutic anticoagulation used during both these techniques can cause significant bleeding diathesis, especially in the setting of re-transplantation or when severe adhesions are encountered. Technological advances have reduced the thrombogenic potential of VA-ECMO circuits and unlike CBM, VA-ECMO does not include a reservoir containing a stagnant column of blood. Here, we demonstrate that VA-ECMO can be used without therapeutic anticoagulation for short-term intraoperative support.

Keywords: Anticoagulation; Lung transplantation; extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO); heparin.

Publication types

  • Case Reports