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Intensive Care Med Exp ; 11(1): 38, 2023 Jun 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236857


BACKGROUND: Optimal anticoagulation strategies for COVID-19 patients with the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) on venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV ECMO) remain uncertain. A higher incidence of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) during VV ECMO support compared to non-COVID-19 viral ARDS patients has been reported, with increased bleeding rates in COVID-19 attributed to both intensified anticoagulation and a disease-specific endotheliopathy. We hypothesized that lower intensity of anticoagulation during VV ECMO would be associated with a lower risk of ICH. In a retrospective, multicenter study from three academic tertiary intensive care units, we included patients with confirmed COVID-19 ARDS requiring VV ECMO support from March 2020 to January 2022. Patients were grouped by anticoagulation exposure into higher intensity, targeting anti-factor Xa activity (anti-Xa) of 0.3-0.4 U/mL, versus lower intensity, targeting anti-Xa 0.15-0.3 U/mL, cohorts. Mean daily doses of unfractionated heparin (UFH) per kg bodyweight and effectively measured daily anti-factor Xa activities were compared between the groups over the first 7 days on ECMO support. The primary outcome was the rate of ICH during VV ECMO support. RESULTS: 141 critically ill COVID-19 patients were included in the study. Patients with lower anticoagulation targets had consistently lower anti-Xa activity values over the first 7 ECMO days (p < 0.001). ICH incidence was lower in patients in the lower anti-Xa group: 4 (8%) vs 32 (34%) events. Accounting for death as a competing event, the adjusted subhazard ratio for the occurrence of ICH was 0.295 (97.5% CI 0.1-0.9, p = 0.044) for the lower anti-Xa compared to the higher anti-Xa group. 90-day ICU survival was higher in patients in the lower anti-Xa group, and ICH was the strongest risk factor associated with mortality (odds ratio [OR] 6.8 [CI 2.1-22.1], p = 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: For COVID-19 patients on VV ECMO support anticoagulated with heparin, a lower anticoagulation target was associated with a significant reduction in ICH incidence and increased survival.

Front Med (Lausanne) ; 9: 1000084, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2240539


Objective: Veno-venous (V-V) extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is increasingly used to support patients with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). In case of additional cardio-circulatory failure, some experienced centers upgrade the V-V ECMO with an additional arterial return cannula (termed V-VA ECMO). Here we analyzed short- and long-term outcome together with potential predictors of mortality. Design: Multicenter, retrospective analysis between January 2008 and September 2021. Setting: Three tertiary care ECMO centers in Germany (Hannover, Bonn) and Switzerland (Zurich). Patients: Seventy-three V-V ECMO patients with ARDS and additional acute cardio-circulatory deterioration required an upgrade to V-VA ECMO were included in this study. Measurements and main results: Fifty-three patients required an upgrade from V-V to V-VA and 20 patients were directly triple cannulated. Median (Interquartile Range) age was 49 (28-57) years and SOFA score was 14 (12-17) at V-VA ECMO upgrade. Vasoactive-inotropic score decreased from 53 (12-123) at V-VA ECMO upgrade to 9 (3-37) after 24 h of V-VA ECMO support. Weaning from V-VA and V-V ECMO was successful in 47 (64%) and 40 (55%) patients, respectively. Duration of ECMO support was 12 (6-22) days and ICU length of stay was 32 (16-46) days. Overall ICU mortality was 48% and hospital mortality 51%. Two additional patients died after hospital discharge while the remaining patients survived up to two years (with six patients being lost to follow-up). The vast majority of patients was free from higher degree persistent organ dysfunction at follow-up. A SOFA score > 14 and higher lactate concentrations at the day of V-VA upgrade were independent predictors of mortality in the multivariate regression analysis. Conclusion: In this analysis, the use of V-VA ECMO in patients with ARDS and concomitant cardiocirculatory failure was associated with a hospital survival of about 50%, and most of these patients survived up to 2 years. A SOFA score > 14 and elevated lactate levels at the day of V-VA upgrade predict unfavorable outcome.