Antimicrobial Prophylaxis and Anticoagulation Therapy in Pediatric ECMO: A Survey Study

J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2022;27(1):72-79. doi: 10.5863/1551-6776-27.1.72. Epub 2021 Dec 22.


Objective: The purpose was to characterize antimicrobial and anticoagulation therapies used in health systems with children receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).

Methods: An anonymous electronic survey assessing health system demographics and antimicrobial and anticoagulation therapies during ECMO was distributed to the American College of Clinical Pharmacy Pediatric Practice and Research Network and the Pediatric Pharmacy Association Critical Care Special Interest Group. The primary objective was to identify the number of respondents using antimicrobial prophylaxis for ECMO cannulation and ECMO runs. Secondary objectives included the first- and second-line anticoagulants and anticoagulation laboratory parameters. Additionally, the antimicrobial regimens and the dosing and administration of antithrombin III (AT III) with systemic anticoagulation were collected. Descriptive statistics were employed.

Results: The questionnaire was completed by 38 respondents from 33 health systems; respondents practiced in the pediatric ICU (n = 20; 52.6%), cardiovascular ICU (n = 14; 36.8%), and neonatal ICU (n = 4; 10.5%). Twenty-eight (73.6%) respondents use antimicrobial prophylaxis during ECMO cannulation or ECMO runs, with most units using cefazolin monotherapy. Thirty-five (92.1%) respondents use heparin as the first-line anticoagulant and used a variety of laboratory tests including anti-factor Xa, activated clotting time, and activated partial thromboplastin time. The most common second-line anticoagulant was bivalirudin (n = 24; 63.2%). Thirty-six (94.7%) respondents use AT III with heparin, with most patients receiving AT III dosing calculated based on a formula for the desired AT III concentration.

Conclusions: The majority of respondents use antimicrobial prophylaxis, but variations in the regimens were noted. Heparin was the most common anticoagulant, but variations in laboratory monitoring and concomitant use of AT III were found.

Keywords: antimicrobials; antithrombin III; child; extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; heparin; pediatrics.