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Poor Survival with Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Pooled Analysis of Early Reports

Published time: 11 April 2020

Authors: Brandon Michael Henry, Giuseppe Lippi

Keywords: Extracorporeal life support, Acute respiratory distress syndrome, Coronavirus, COVID-19


The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can induce acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which can progress to refractory pulmonary failure. In such cases, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) may be considered as a rescue therapy. In a study of ECMO for ARDS in patients with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), a similar coronavirus disease emerged in 2012, a significant decrease of in-hospital mortality rate and length of intensive care unit (ICU) stay was found in patients treated with ECMO compared to those managed with conventional therapy [1]. However, with COVID-19, concerns have been raised about high mortality rate observed in an early report which included data on ECMO in infected patients [2]. It has been suggested that the compounded immunologic insult by both infection and extracorporeal circuit may counterbalance or even offset survival benefits [2]. In this article, we aimed to evaluate ECMO mortality as reported in early COVID-19 epidemiological studies.

Poor survival with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); Pooled analysis of early reports



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