[Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for acute respiratory distress syndrome in patients with COVID-19]

Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2023 Jan 30;143(2). doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.22.0545. Print 2023 Jan 31.
[Article in Norwegian]


Background: COVID-19 can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). In some patients for whom conventional mechanical ventilation is insufficient, venovenous (VV) extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) can be life-saving.

Material and method: Retrospective analysis of data from patients with ARDS triggered by COVID-19 who received ECMO therapy between March 2020 and February 2022. Premorbid health condition, course of respiratory distress and respiratory support before, during and after ECMO therapy were registered.

Results: Thirty patients received ECMO therapy. Median age was 57 years, median body mass index 28 kg/m2, and 23 patients were men. Median duration of lung protective mechanical ventilation with tidal volume 5.8 mL/kg predicted body weight before initiation of ECMO therapy was 8 days. Treatment indication was primarily severe hypoxaemia, frequently combined with hypercapnia. Twenty-three patients developed at least one severe complication while receiving ECMO therapy. Sixteen patients died, 13 during ongoing ECMO therapy. Fourteen were discharged from hospital. Median duration of ECMO and mechanical ventilation was 27 and 37 days, respectively.

Interpretation: ECMO therapy for patients with ARDS triggered by COVID-19 can be life-saving, but the treatment is accompanied by severe complications and a high mortality rate.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / complications
  • COVID-19* / therapy
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome* / etiology
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome* / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies