Clinical Management of Venoarterial Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation

J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2020 Oct;34(10):2776-2792. doi: 10.1053/j.jvca.2019.12.047. Epub 2020 Jan 8.


Venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a well-established technique to rescue patients experiencing cardiogenic shock. As a form of temporary mechanical circulatory support, venoarterial ECMO can be life-saving, but it is resource intensive and associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. Optimal clinical outcomes require specific expertise in the principles and nuances of ECMO physiology and management. Key considerations discussed in this review include hemodynamic assessment and goals; pharmacologic anticoagulation; ECMO weaning strategies; and the prevention, evaluation, and treatment of common complications.

Keywords: cardiac critical care; cardiogenic shock; extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation; mechanical circulatory support; venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation*
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / therapy