Predicting Survival After VA-ECMO for Refractory Cardiogenic Shock: Validating the SAVE Score Academic Article uri icon

  • Overview
  • Identity
  • Additional Document Info
  • View All


  • Background: Veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) is used increasingly to support patients who are in cardiogenic shock. Due to the risk of complications, prediction models may aid in identifying patients who would benefit most from VA-ECMO. One such model is the Survival After Veno-Arterial Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (SAVE) score. Therefore, we wanted to validate the utility of the SAVE score in a contemporary cohort of adult patients. Methods: Retrospective data were extracted from electronic health records of 120 patients with cardiogenic shock supported with VA-ECMO between 2011 and 2018. The SAVE score was calculated for each patient to predict survival to hospital discharge. We assessed the SAVE score calibration by comparing predicted vs observed survival at discharge. We assessed discrimination with the area under the receiver operating curve using logistic regression. Results: A total of 45% of patients survived to hospital discharge. Survivors had a significantly higher mean SAVE score (-9.3 ± 4.1 in survivors vs -13.1 ± 4.4, respectively; P = 0.001). SAVE score discrimination was adequate (c = 0.77; 95% confidence interval 0.69-0.86; P < 0.001). SAVE score calibration was limited, as observed survival rates for risk classes II-V were higher in our cohort (II: 67% vs 58%; III: 78% vs 42%; IV: 61% vs 30%; and V: 29% vs 18%). Conclusions: The SAVE score underestimates survival in a contemporary North American cohort of adult patients with cardiogenic shock. Its inaccurate performance could lead to denying ECMO support to patients deemed to be too high risk. Further studies are needed to validate additional predictive models for patients requiring VA-ECMO.


  • Amin, Faizan
  • Lombardi, Julia
  • Alhussein, Mosaad
  • Posada, Juan Duero
  • Suszko, Adrian
  • Koo, Margaret
  • Fan, Eddy
  • Ross, Heather
  • Rao, Vivek
  • Alba, Carolina
  • Billia, Filio

publication date

  • January 2021