Neurologic Injury in Patients Treated With Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation for Postcardiotomy Cardiogenic Shock

Fanni Toivonen, Fausto Biancari, Magnus Dalén, Angelo M. Dell'Aquila, Kristján Jónsson, Antonio Fiore, Giovanni Mariscalco, Zein El-Dean, Giuseppe Gatti, Svante Zipfel, Andrea Perrotti, Karl Bounader, Khalid Alkhamees, Antonio Loforte, Andrea Lechiancole, Marek Pol, Cristiano Spadaccio, Matteo Pettinari, Dieter De Keyzer, Henryk WelpArtur Lichtenberg, Diyar Saeed, Vito G. Ruggieri, Sigurdur Ragnarsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To investigate the frequency, predictors, and outcomes of neurologic injury in adults treated with postcardiotomy extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (PC-ECMO). Design: A retrospective multicenter registry study. Setting: Twenty-one European institutions where cardiac surgery is performed. Participants: A total of 781 adult patients who required PC-ECMO during 2010 to 2018 were divided into patients with neurologic injury (NI) and patients without neurologic injury (NNI). Measurements and Main Results: Baseline and operative data, in-hospital outcomes, and long-term survival were compared between the NI and the NNI groups. Predictors of neurologic injury were identified. A subgroup analysis according to the type of neurologic injury was performed. Overall, NI occurred in 19% of patients in the overall series, but the proportion of patients with NI ranged from 0% to 65% among the centers. Ischemic stroke occurred in 84 patients and hemorrhagic stroke in 47 patients. Emergency procedure was the sole independent predictor of NI. In-hospital mortality was higher in the NI group than in the NNI group (79% v 61%, p < 0.001). The one-year survival was lower in the NI group (17%) compared with the NNI group (37%). Long-term survival did not differ between patients with ischemic stroke and those with hemorrhagic stroke. Conclusion: Neurologic injury during PC-ECMO is common and associated with a dismal prognosis. There is considerable interinstitutional variation in the proportion of neurologic injury in PC-ECMO-treated adults. Well-known risk factors for stroke are not associated with neurologic injury in this setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2669-2680
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia
Issue number9
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sept 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems

Free keywords

  • extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • intracerebral hemorrhage
  • ischemic stroke
  • neurologic injury
  • outcome
  • postcardiotomy shock
  • stroke


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