Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation for Coronavirus Disease 2019-Induced Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome: A Multicenter Descriptive Study

Crit Care Med. 2020 Sep;48(9):1289-1295. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000004447.


Objectives: Severe acute respiratory distress syndrome is complicated with coronavirus disease 2019 and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support may be necessary in severe cases. This study is to summarize the clinical features, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation characteristics, and outcomes of patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pneumonia received extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

Design: Descriptive study from two hospitals.

Setting: The ICUs from university hospitals.

Patients: Patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pneumonia received mechanical ventilation, including those underwent extracorporeal membrane oxygenation from Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University and Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital from January 8, 2020, to March 31, 2020.

Interventions: None.

Measurements and main results: Clinical records, laboratory results, ventilator parameters, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation-related data were abstracted from the medical records. One-hundred twenty-nine critically ill patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pneumonia were admitted to ICU of the two referral hospitals. Fifty-nine patients received mechanical ventilation and 21 of them received extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support (fourteen from Zhongnan hospital and seven from Wuhan pulmonary hospital). Compared to mechanical ventilation patients without extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support, there was a tendency of decline in mortality but with no significant difference (no-extracorporeal membrane oxygenation group 24/38 [63.2%] vs extracorporeal membrane oxygenation group 12/21 [57.1%]; p = 0.782). For those patients with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, 12 patients died and nine survived by April 7, 2020. Among extracorporeal membrane oxygenation patients, the PaCO2 prior to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation was lower (54.40 mm Hg [29.20-57.50 mm Hg] vs 63.20 mm Hg [55.40-72.12 mm Hg]; p = 0.006), and pH prior to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation was higher (7.38 [7.28-7.48] vs 7.23 [7.16-7.33]; p = 0.023) in survivors than nonsurvivors.

Conclusions: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation might be an effective salvage treatment for patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pneumonia associated with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome. Severe CO2 retention and acidosis prior to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation indicated a poor prognosis.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques
  • Coronavirus Infections / complications
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections / mortality
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy*
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation* / adverse effects
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation* / mortality
  • Female
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / complications
  • Pneumonia, Viral / mortality
  • Pneumonia, Viral / therapy*
  • Prognosis
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / etiology
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / therapy*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • SARS-CoV-2