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Comparison of anticoagulation strategies for veno-venous ECMO support in acute respiratory failure


Seeliger, Benjamin; Döbler, Michael; Friedrich, Robert; Stahl, Klaus; Kühn, Christian; Bauersachs, Johann; Steinhagen, Folkert; Ehrentraut, Stefan F; Schewe, Jens-Christian; Putensen, Christian; Welte, Tobias; Hoeper, Marius M; Tiede, Andreas; David, Sascha; Bode, Christian (2021). Comparison of anticoagulation strategies for veno-venous ECMO support in acute respiratory failure. Critical Care, 24(1):701.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support in acute respiratory failure may be lifesaving, but bleeding and thromboembolic complications are common. The optimal anticoagulation strategy balancing these factors remains to be determined. This retrospective study compared two institutional anticoagulation management strategies focussing on oxygenator changes and both bleeding and thromboembolic events.

METHODS

We conducted a retrospective observational cohort study between 04/2015 and 02/2020 in two ECMO referral centres in Germany in patients receiving veno-venous (VV)-ECMO support for acute respiratory failure for > 24 h. One centre routinely applied low-dose heparinization aiming for a partial thromboplastin time (PTT) of 35-40 s and the other routinely used a high-dose therapeutic heparinization strategy aiming for an activated clotting time (ACT) of 140-180 s. We assessed number of and time to ECMO oxygenator changes, 15-day freedom from oxygenator change, major bleeding events, thromboembolic events, 30-day ICU mortality, activated clotting time and partial thromboplastin time and administration of blood products. Primary outcome was the occurrence of oxygenator changes depending on heparinization strategy; main secondary outcomes were the occurrence of severe bleeding events and occurrence of thromboembolic events. The transfusion strategy was more liberal in the low-dose centre.

RESULTS

Of 375 screened patients receiving VV-ECMO support, 218 were included in the analysis (117 high-dose group; 101 low-dose group). Disease severity measured by SAPS II score was 46 (IQR 36-57) versus 47 (IQR 37-55) and ECMO runtime was 8 (IQR 5-12) versus 11 (IQR 7-17) days (P = 0.003). There were 14 oxygenator changes in the high-dose group versus 48 in the low-dose group. Freedom from oxygenator change at 15 days was 73% versus 55% (adjusted HR 3.34 [95% confidence interval 1.2-9.4]; P = 0.023). Severe bleeding events occurred in 23 (19.7%) versus 14 (13.9%) patients (P = 0.256) and thromboembolic events occurred in 8 (6.8%) versus 19 (19%) patients (P = 0.007). Mortality at 30 days was 33.3% versus 30.7% (P = 0.11).

CONCLUSIONS

In this retrospective study, ECMO management with high-dose heparinization was associated with lower rates of oxygenator changes and thromboembolic events when compared to a low-dose heparinization strategy. Prospective, randomized trials are needed to determine the optimal anticoagulation strategy in patients receiving ECMO support.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support in acute respiratory failure may be lifesaving, but bleeding and thromboembolic complications are common. The optimal anticoagulation strategy balancing these factors remains to be determined. This retrospective study compared two institutional anticoagulation management strategies focussing on oxygenator changes and both bleeding and thromboembolic events.

METHODS

We conducted a retrospective observational cohort study between 04/2015 and 02/2020 in two ECMO referral centres in Germany in patients receiving veno-venous (VV)-ECMO support for acute respiratory failure for > 24 h. One centre routinely applied low-dose heparinization aiming for a partial thromboplastin time (PTT) of 35-40 s and the other routinely used a high-dose therapeutic heparinization strategy aiming for an activated clotting time (ACT) of 140-180 s. We assessed number of and time to ECMO oxygenator changes, 15-day freedom from oxygenator change, major bleeding events, thromboembolic events, 30-day ICU mortality, activated clotting time and partial thromboplastin time and administration of blood products. Primary outcome was the occurrence of oxygenator changes depending on heparinization strategy; main secondary outcomes were the occurrence of severe bleeding events and occurrence of thromboembolic events. The transfusion strategy was more liberal in the low-dose centre.

RESULTS

Of 375 screened patients receiving VV-ECMO support, 218 were included in the analysis (117 high-dose group; 101 low-dose group). Disease severity measured by SAPS II score was 46 (IQR 36-57) versus 47 (IQR 37-55) and ECMO runtime was 8 (IQR 5-12) versus 11 (IQR 7-17) days (P = 0.003). There were 14 oxygenator changes in the high-dose group versus 48 in the low-dose group. Freedom from oxygenator change at 15 days was 73% versus 55% (adjusted HR 3.34 [95% confidence interval 1.2-9.4]; P = 0.023). Severe bleeding events occurred in 23 (19.7%) versus 14 (13.9%) patients (P = 0.256) and thromboembolic events occurred in 8 (6.8%) versus 19 (19%) patients (P = 0.007). Mortality at 30 days was 33.3% versus 30.7% (P = 0.11).

CONCLUSIONS

In this retrospective study, ECMO management with high-dose heparinization was associated with lower rates of oxygenator changes and thromboembolic events when compared to a low-dose heparinization strategy. Prospective, randomized trials are needed to determine the optimal anticoagulation strategy in patients receiving ECMO support.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Institute of Intensive Care Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
Language:English
Date:4 January 2021
Deposited On:15 Jan 2021 09:37
Last Modified:01 Feb 2021 16:21
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1364-8535
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s13054-020-03348-w
PubMed ID:33397427

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