Pharmacokinetics and Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation in Adults: A Literature Review

AACN Adv Crit Care. Fall 2018;29(3):246-258. doi: 10.4037/aacnacc2018439.


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is a rapidly emerging treatment for respiratory or cardiac failure and is used as a bridge to recovery, transplant, or destination therapy. Adult patients receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation also receive significant amounts of pharmacotherapy. Although the body of literature on extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation in general is extensive, only a few publications focus on pharmacokinetic changes related to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in adults. Understanding pharmacokinetics in adult patients receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is important to correctly select and dose medications in this patient population. This article reviews published studies of the effects of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation on pharmacokinetics in adults.

Keywords: ECMO; adult; extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; pharmacokinetics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Anticonvulsants / pharmacokinetics*
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation / methods*
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / pharmacokinetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • United States


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antifungal Agents
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives