Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation after lung transplantation: risk factors and outcomes analysis
Background: Lung transplantation is the treatment of choice for end-stage pulmonary disease in selected patients. However, severe primary graft dysfunction is a significant complication of transplant and requires the implantation of an extracorporeal support. The aim of the study is to evaluate the impact of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) after transplant in our center.
Methods: From January 2008 till June 2018, 195 consecutive unselected patients receiving a lung transplant were considered. Mean age was 49±15 years. Main indications for transplant were idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in 72 patients, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 60 patients, and cystic fibrosis in 40 patients. Prior to transplant, 18 patients were on mechanical ventilation and 14 were on ECMO.
Results: Twenty-five patients required venous-venous ECMO after transplant. Vascular disease as cause of transplant [relative risk (RR) 7.8, 95% CI: 1.5–41, P=0.02], donor age (RR 1.6, 95% CI: 1.03–2.3, P=0.03) and need for cardiopulmonary by-pass during transplant (RR 3.1, 95% CI: 1.02–9, P=0.04) were associated with ECMO implantation. Patients requiring post-transplant ECMO received more transfusions (P<0.01), had a longer mechanical ventilation (P<0.01) and ICU stay (P<0.01) and had a higher hospital mortality (P<0.01). Post-transplant ECMO significantly influenced one- and five-year survival [hazard ratio (HR) 5.5, 95% CI: 3–10, P<0.001 and HR 3.5, 95% CI: 2–6, P<0.001, respectively]. However, conditional survival after t months is similar for patients with or without post-transplant ECMO.
Conclusions: In our experience, although ECMO is a reliable and effective strategy to support pulmonary function, severe graft dysfunction after lung transplantation still has a significant impact on early and late results.