The Utility of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation in Patients With Hematologic Malignancies: A Literature Review

Cureus. 2020 Jul 10;12(7):e9118. doi: 10.7759/cureus.9118.


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is used to provide respiratory and/or circulatory support for critically ill patients. In people suffering from hematologic malignancies (HMs), acute respiratory failure often necessitates intensive care. Whereas initial studies reported that these patients generally have poor outcomes, studies conducted within the last 10 years have shown that ECMO is quite beneficial for patients with HMs. This review showcases data from 2010 to 2019 demonstrating the utility of ECMO in cancer patients. Retrospective studies revealed long-term disease-free survival, particularly when ECMO served as a bridge through chemotherapy. Case reports suggested strong evidence of mortality benefit from ECMO, especially in patients with aggressive lymphomas. However, a systematic approach is needed to better quantify and validate these findings. Studies with larger sample size and prospective cohorts are needed to help create well-defined guidelines for physicians approaching the treatment of cancer patients on ECMO.

Keywords: chemotherapy; ecmo; lymphoma; malignant hematology; oncology.

Publication types

  • Review