Extracorporeal life support as a bridge to lung transplantation–experience of a high-volume transplant center
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OBJECTIVES: Extracorporeal life support (ECLS) is increasingly used to bridge deteriorating patients awaiting lung transplantation (LTx), however, few systematic descriptions of this practice exist. We therefore aimed to review our institutional experience over the past 10 years. METHODS: In this case series, we included all adults who received ECLS with the intent to bridge to LTx. Data were retrieved from patient charts and our institutional ECLS and transplant databases. RESULTS: Between January 2006 and September 2016, 1111 LTx were performed in our institution. ECLS was used in 71 adults with the intention to bridge to LTx; of these, 11 (16%) were bridged to retransplantation. The median duration of ECLS before LTx was 10 days (range, 0-95). We used a single dual-lumen venous cannula in 23 patients (32%). Nine of 13 patients (69%) with pulmonary hypertension were bridged by central pulmonary artery to left atrium Novalung. Twenty-five patients (35%) were extubated while on ECLS and 26 patients (37%) were mobilized. Sixty-three patients (89%) survived to LTx. Survival by intention to treat was 66% (1 year), 58% (3 years) and 48% (5 years). Survival was significantly shorter in patients undergoing ECLS bridge to retransplantation compared with first LTx (median survival, 15 months (95% CI, 0-31) versus 60 months (95% CI, 37-83); P = .041). CONCLUSIONS: In our center experience, ECLS bridge to first lung transplant leads to good short-term and long-term outcomes in carefully selected patients. In contrast, our data suggest that ECLS as a bridge to retransplantation should be used with caution.
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