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Extracorporeal life support in pediatric trauma: a systematic review. Trauma Surg Acute Care Open 2019;4(1):e000362



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2-s2.0-85072374861 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   9 Citations


INTRODUCTION: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) was once thought to be contraindicated in trauma patients, however ECMO is now used in adult patients with post-traumatic acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and multisystem trauma. Despite acceptance as a therapy for the severely injured adult, there is a paucity of evidence supporting ECMO use in pediatric trauma patients.

METHODS: An electronic literature search of PubMed, MEDLINE, and the Cochrane Database of Collected Reviews from 1972 to 2018 was performed. Included studies reported on ECMO use after trauma in patients ≤18 years of age and reported outcome data. The Institute of Health Economics quality appraisal tool for case series was used to assess study quality.

RESULTS: From 745 studies, four met inclusion criteria, reporting on 58 pediatric trauma patients. The age range was <1-18 years. Overall study quality was poor with only a single article of adequate quality. Twenty-nine percent of patients were cannulated at adult centers, the remaining at pediatric centers. Ninety-one percent were cannulated for ARDS and the remaining for cardiovascular collapse. Overall 60% of patients survived and the survival rate ranged from 50% to 100%. Seventy-seven percent underwent venoarterial cannulation and the remaining underwent veno-venous cannulation.

CONCLUSION: ECMO may be a therapeutic option in critically ill pediatric trauma patients. Consideration should be made for the expansion of ECMO utilization in pediatric trauma patients including its application for pediatric patients at adult trauma centers with ECMO capabilities.

Author List

Puzio T, Murphy P, Gazzetta J, Phillips M, Cotton BA, Hartwell JL


Patrick Murphy MD Assistant Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin