Objective: The recent increase of pertussis cases worldwide has generated questions regarding the utility of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for children with pertussis. We aimed to evaluate factors associated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation outcome.
Design: The study was designed in two parts: a retrospective analysis of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization Registry to identify factors independently linked to outcome, and an expanded dataset from individual institutions to examine the association of WBC count, pulmonary hypertension, and leukodepletion with survival.
Setting: Extracorporeal Life Support Organization Registry database from 2002 though 2015, and contributions from 19 international centers.
Patients: Two hundred infants from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization Registry and expanded data on 73 children.
Measurements and main results: Of the 200 infants who received extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for pertussis, only 56 survived (28%). In a multivariable logistic regression analysis, the following variables were independently associated with increased chance of survival: older age (odds ratio, 1.43 [1.03-1.98]; p = 0.034), higher PaO2/FIO2 ratio (odds ratio, 1.10 [1.03-1.17]; p = 0.003), and longer intubation time prior to the initiation of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (odds ratio, 2.10 [1.37-3.22]; p = 0.001). The use of vasoactive medications (odds ratio, 0.33 [0.11-0.99]; p = 0.047), and renal neurologic or infectious complications (odds ratio, 0.21 [0.08-0.56]; p = 0.002) were associated with increased mortality. In the expanded dataset (n =73), leukodepletion was independently associated with increased chance of survival (odds ratio, 3.36 [1.13-11.68]; p = 0.03) while the presence of pulmonary hypertension was adverse (odds ratio, 0.06 [0.01-0.55]; p = 0.01).
Conclusions: The survival rate for infants with pertussis who received extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support remains poor. Younger age, lower PaO2/FIO2 ratio, vasoactive use, pulmonary hypertension, and a rapidly progressive course were associated with increased mortality. Our results suggest that pre-extracorporeal membrane oxygenation leukodepletion may provide a survival advantage.