Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation in Patients With COVID-19: An International Multicenter Cohort Study

S.J. Raasveld, T.S.R. Delnoij, L.M. Broman, A.O. Lansink-Hartgring, G. Hermans, E. De Troy, F.S. Taccone, M.Q. Diaz, F. van der Velde, D.D. Miranda, E. Scholten, A.P.J. Vlaar*, ETALON Study Group

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background:To report and compare the characteristics and outcomes of COVID-19 patients on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) to non-COVID-19 acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) patients on ECMO.Methods:We performed an international retrospective study of COVID-19 patients on ECMO from 13 intensive care units from March 1 to April 30, 2020. Demographic data, ECMO characteristics and clinical outcomes were collected. The primary outcome was to assess the complication rate and 28-day mortality; the secondary outcome was to compare patient and ECMO characteristics between COVID-19 patients on ECMO and non-COVID-19 related ARDS patients on ECMO (non-COVID-19; January 1, 2018 until July 31, 2019).Results:During the study period 71 COVID-19 patients received ECMO, mostly veno-venous, for a median duration of 13 days (IQR 7-20). ECMO was initiated at 5 days (IQR 3-10) following invasive mechanical ventilation. Median PaO2/FiO(2) ratio prior to initiation of ECMO was similar in COVID-19 patients (58 mmHg [IQR 46-76]) and non-COVID-19 patients (53 mmHg [IQR 44-66]), the latter consisting of 48 patients. 28-day mortality was 37% in COVID-19 patients and 27% in non-COVID-19 patients. However, Kaplan-Meier curves showed that after a 100-day follow-up this non-significant difference resolves. Non-surviving COVID-19 patients were more acidotic prior to initiation ECMO, had a shorter ECMO run and fewer received muscle paralysis compared to survivors.Conclusions:No significant differences in outcomes were found between COVID-19 patients on ECMO and non-COVID-19 ARDS patients on ECMO. This suggests that ECMO could be considered as a supportive therapy in case of refractory respiratory failure in COVID-19.
Original languageEnglish
Article number08850666211007063
Pages (from-to)910-917
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Intensive Care Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021


  • ARDS
  • COVID-19
  • ECMO
  • survival

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