Background Acute fulminant myocarditis (AFM) may represent a life-threatening event, characterized by rapidly progressive cardiac compromise that ultimately leads to refractory cardiogenic shock or cardiac arrest. Venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) provides effective cardiocirculatory support in this circumstance, but few clinical series are available about early and long-term results. Data from a multicenter study group are reported which analyzed subjects affected by AFM and treated with VA-ECMO during a 5-year period. Method From hospital databases, 57 patients with diagnoses of AFM treated with VA-ECMO in the past 5 years were found and analyzed. Mean age was 37.6 ± 11.8 years; 37 patients were women. At VA-ECMO implantation, cardiogenic shock was present in 38 patients, cardiac arrest in 12, and severe hemodynamic instability in 7. A peripheral approach was used with 47 patients, whereas 10 patients had a central implantation or other access. Results Mean VA-ECMO support was 9.9 ± 19 days (range, 2 to 24 days). Cardiac recovery with ECMO weaning was achieved in 43 patients (75.5%), major complications were observed in 40 patients (70.1%), and survival to hospital discharge occurred in 41 patients (71.9%). After hospital discharge (median follow-up, 15 months) there were 2 late deaths. The 5-year actual survival was 65.2% ± 7.9%, with recurrent self-recovering myocarditis observed in 2 patients (at 6 and 12 months from the first AFM event), and 1 heart transplantation. Conclusions Cardiopulmonary support with VA-ECMO provides an invaluable tool in the treatment of AFM, although major complications may characterize the hospital course. Long-term outcome appears favorable with rare episodes of recurrent myocarditis or cardiac-related events.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine