Venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for respiratory failure refractory to high frequency percussive ventilation

Heart Lung. 2024 Mar-Apr:64:1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.hrtlng.2023.10.014. Epub 2023 Nov 15.


Background: High frequency percussive ventilation (HFPV) has demonstrated improvements in gas exchange, but not in clinical outcomes.

Objectives: We utilize HFPV in patients failing conventional ventilation (CV), with rescue venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV ECMO) reserved for failure of HFPV, and we describe our experience with such a strategy.

Methods: All adult patients (age >18 years) placed on HFPV for failure of CV at a single institution over a 10-year period were included. Those maintained on HFPV were compared to those that failed HFPV and required VV ECMO. Survival was compared to expected survival after upfront VV ECMO as estimated by VV ECMO risk prediction models.

Results: Sixty-four patients were placed on HFPV for failure of CV over a 10-year period. After HFPV initiation, the P/F ratio rose from 76mmHg to 153.3mmHg in the 69 % of patients successfully maintained on HFPV. The P/F ratio only rose from 60.3mmHg to 67mmHg in the other 31 % of patients, and they underwent rescue ECMO with the P/F ratio rising to 261.6mmHg. The P/F ratio continued to improve in HFPV patients, while it declined in ECMO patients, such that at 24 h, the P/F ratio was greater in HFPV patients. The strongest independent predictor of failure of HFPV requiring rescue VV ECMO was a lower pO2 (p = .055). Overall in-hospital survival (59.4 %) was similar to that expected with upfront ECMO (RESP score: 57 %).

Conclusions: HFPV demonstrated significant and sustained improvements in gas exchange and may obviate the need for ECMO and its associated complications.

Keywords: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; High frequency ventilation; Respiratory insufficiency.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cognition
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation* / adverse effects
  • High-Frequency Ventilation* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Respiration
  • Respiratory Insufficiency* / etiology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency* / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies