Background/Aims: Adult liver transplantation (LT) recipients occasionally show serious acute cardiopulmonary dysfunction, requiring intensive care. We have assessed the feasibility of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support in adult LT recipients facing acute pulmonary failure and refractory to conventional mechanical ventilation and concurrent nitric oxide gas inhalation. Methodology: From January 2008 to June 2009, 9 adult LT recipients required ECMO support due to pneumonia (n=5) and adult respiratory distress syndrome (n=4). Mean age was 52.6±5.9 years and mean model for end-stage liver disease score was 29.0±7.5. Five patients underwent living-donor LT and four underwent deceased-donor LT. Results: Veno-venous access mode was used and continuous veno-venous hemodiafiltration was performed concurrently in all 9 patients. No procedure-related complications occurred. Successful ECMO weaning was achieved in 4 patients (44.4%) at the first attempt, after mean ECMO support of 12.0±6.8 days but the other five died due to overwhelming infection prior to ECMO weaning. Univariate analysis revealed no significant risk factors for failing ECMO support before ECMO start. Conclusions: ECMO as rescue therapy seems beneficial to be considered as a final therapeutic option for LT recipients with refractory pulmonary dysfunction who would otherwise die due to hypoxemia.
- Adult respiratory distress syndrome
- Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
- Liver transplantation
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