Quarterly scientific journal

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO): Inclusion criteria for patients with ARDS due to COVID 19 disease

Panagiota Triantafyllaki , Theodore Kapadochos , Antonia Kalogianni , Georgia Toylia , Stelios Parissopoulos , Dimitrios Papageorgiou



Introduction: At the end of 2019 in the city of Yuhan, China, a virus of the family of coronaviruses first appeared, mainly affecting the respiratory system, which was called SARS-COV-2 and causes COVID-19. Although in most patients it occurs with mild symptomatology, however, a significant percentage (15-30%) will develop severe respiratory distress (ARDS) with increased chances of intubation and mechanical ventilation. In special cases of severe disease, where the oxygenation of the patient is not improved by the use of the ventilator, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)  can be applied a technique that has been used in previous pandemics that affected the respiratory system.

Aim: The aim of the study was to investigate the evidence of appliance of the ECMO, based on international literature, of the extracorporeal membrane oxygenator in patients with severe respiratory failure due to Covid-19 disease.

Methods: Articles were searched in the international bases of scientific studies such as PubMed, PubMed Central, Medline, Cochrane Library and Google Scholar. This review was carried out using, meta analysis and international guidelines.

Results: Six (6) articles were included where there was an agreement on the basic characteristics of patients, which can be considered as selection criteria. The primary criteria indicate the age, where the patient must be under 65 years old and the body mass index (BMI) that must be below 40. In addition, it is very important that there is no serious underlying pathology such as multi-organ failure syndrome. Also, the mechanical ventilation should not exceed seven (7) days until the placement of the ECMO, while all the other therapeutic methods such as the prone position, neuromuscular blockers and the appropriate positive end-expiratory pressure of the airways (Positive end-expiratory pressure - PEEP) should be already applied.

Conclusions: The application of ECMO is widely used as a treatment for patients with severe COVID 19 disease. However, in order to have the best therapeutic results while reducing hospitalization costs, it is necessary to follow the guidelines regarding the selection of patients who will benefit substantially.


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