Early findings after implementation of veno-arteriovenous ECMO: A multicenter european experience

Aaron Blandino Ortiz, Mirko Belliato, Lars Mikael Broman, Olivier Lheureux, Maximilian Valentin Malfertheiner, Angela Xini, Federico Pappalardo, Fabio Silvio Taccone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is increasingly used to treat cardiopulmonary failure in critically ill patients. Peripheral cannulation may be complicated by a persistent low cardiac output in case of veno-venous cannulation (VV-ECMO) or by differential hypoxia (e.g., lower PaO2 in the upper than in the lower body) in case of veno-arterial cannulation (VA-ECMO) and severe impairment of pulmonary function associated with cardiac recovery. The treatment of such complications remains challenging. We report the early effects of the use of veno-arterial-venous (V-AV) ECMO in this setting. Methods: Retrospective analysis including patients from five different European ECMO centers (January 2013 to December 2016) who required V-AV ECMO.We collected demographic data as well as comorbidities and ECMO characteristics, hemodynamics, and arterial blood gas values before and immediately after (i.e., within 2 h) V-AV implementation. Results: A total of 32 patients (age 53 (interquartiles, IQRs: 31-59) years) were identified: 16 were initially supported with VA-ECMO and 16 with VV-ECMO. The median time to V-AV conversion was 2 (1-5) days. After V-AV implantation, heart rate and norepinephrine dose significantly decreased, while PaO2 and SaO2 significantly increased compared to baseline values. Lactate levels significantly decreased from 3.9 (2.3-7.1) to 2.8 (1.4-4.4) mmol/L (p = 0.048). A significant increase in the overall ECMO blood flow (from 4.5 (3.8-5.0) to 4.9 (4.3-5.9) L/min; p < 0.01) was observed, with 3.0 (2.5-3.2) L/min for the arterial and 2.8 (2.1-3.6) L/min for the venous return flows. Conclusions: In ECMO patients with differential hypoxia or persistently low cardiac output syndrome, V-AV conversion was associated with improvement in some hemodynamic and respiratory parameters. A significant increase in the overall ECMO blood flow was also observed, with similar flow distributed into the arterial and venous return cannulas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number81
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Differential hypoxia
  • ECMO
  • Low cardiac output
  • Veno-artero-venous

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Filtration and Separation


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