Venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for coronavirus disease 2019 patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Perfusion. 2022 May 24;2676591221104302. doi: 10.1177/02676591221104302. Online ahead of print.


Objective: Although the application of venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV-ECMO) in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is accumulating, the feasibility and safety of this therapy remain controversial. We aimed to evaluate the effect of VV-ECMO in the treatment of these patients.

Methods: A comprehensive literature search was performed using PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Library, and International Clinical Trials Registry Platform databases through November 2021. According to the inclusion and exclusion criteria, the included studies were screened, and meta-analysis was performed by R software (version 4.0.2).

Results: Forty-two studies including 2037 COVID-19 patients supported with VV-ECMO due to ARDS were identified. The pooled analysis revealed that 30-, 60-, and 90-day mortality among patients were respectively 46% (95% CI 37%-57%, I2 = 66%), 46% (95% CI 30%-70%, I2 = 93%), and 49% (95% CI 43%-58%, I2 = 52%), and the pooled incidence rate of in-hospital mortality, major bleeding, hemorrhagic stroke, thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, deep venous thrombosis, and renal replacement therapy were respectively 35%, 39%, 11%, 40%, 15%, 21%, and 44%.

Conclusion: Although COVID-19 patients may have a higher risk of bleeding, hemorrhagic stroke, and acute kidney injury during ECMO therapy, the survival rate was more than half of the cases. Our data may support the application of VV-ECMO in COVID-19 patients.

Keywords: coronavirus disease 2019; extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; meta-analysis.