Association of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation With New Mental Health Diagnoses in Adult Survivors of Critical Illness Journal Articles uri icon

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  • ImportanceExtracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is used as temporary cardiorespiratory support in critically ill patients, but little is known regarding long-term psychiatric sequelae among survivors after ECMO.ObjectiveTo investigate the association between ECMO survivorship and postdischarge mental health diagnoses among adult survivors of critical illness.Design, Setting, and ParticipantsPopulation-based retrospective cohort study in Ontario, Canada, from April 1, 2010, through March 31, 2020. Adult patients (N=4462; age ≥18 years) admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), and surviving to hospital discharge were included.ExposuresReceipt of ECMO.Main Outcomes and MeasuresThe primary outcome was a new mental health diagnosis (a composite of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder; schizophrenia, other psychotic disorders; other mental health disorders; and social problems) following discharge. There were 8 secondary outcomes including incidence of substance misuse, deliberate self-harm, death by suicide, and individual components of the composite primary outcome. Patients were compared with ICU survivors not receiving ECMO using overlap propensity score–weighted cause-specific proportional hazard models.ResultsAmong 642 survivors who received ECMO (mean age, 50.7 years; 40.7% female), median length of follow-up was 730 days; among 3820 matched ICU survivors who did not receive ECMO (mean age, 51.0 years; 40.0% female), median length of follow-up was 1390 days. Incidence of new mental health conditions among survivors who received ECMO was 22.1 per 100-person years (95% confidence interval [CI] 19.5-25.1), and 14.5 per 100-person years (95% CI, 13.8-15.2) among non-ECMO ICU survivors (absolute rate difference of 7.6 per 100-person years [95% CI, 4.7-10.5]). Following propensity weighting, ECMO survivorship was significantly associated with an increased risk of new mental health diagnosis (hazard ratio [HR] 1.24 [95% CI, 1.01-1.52]). There were no significant differences between survivors who received ECMO vs ICU survivors who did not receive ECMO in substance misuse (1.6 [95% CI, 1.1 to 2.4] per 100 person-years vs 1.4 [95% CI, 1.2 to 1.6] per 100 person-years; absolute rate difference, 0.2 per 100 person-years [95% CI, −0.4 to 0.8]; HR, 0.86 [95% CI, 0.48 to 1.53]) or deliberate self-harm (0.4 [95% CI, 0.2 to 0.9] per 100 person-years vs 0.3 [95% CI, 0.2 to 0.3] per 100 person-years; absolute rate difference, 0.1 per 100 person-years [95% CI, −0.2 to 0.4]; HR, 0.68 [95% CI, 0.21 to 2.23]). There were fewer than 5 total cases of death by suicide in the entire cohort.Conclusions and RelevanceAmong adult survivors of critical illness, receipt of ECMO, compared with ICU hospitalization without ECMO, was significantly associated with a modestly increased risk of new mental health diagnosis or social problem diagnosis after discharge. Further research is necessary to elucidate the potential mechanisms underlying this relationship.


  • Fernando, Shannon M
  • Scott, Mary
  • Talarico, Robert
  • Fan, Eddy
  • McIsaac, Daniel I
  • Sood, Manish M
  • Myran, Daniel T
  • Herridge, Margaret S
  • Needham, Dale M
  • Hodgson, Carol L
  • Rochwerg, Bram
  • Munshi, Laveena
  • Wilcox, M Elizabeth
  • Bienvenu, O Joseph
  • MacLaren, Graeme
  • Fowler, Robert A
  • Scales, Damon C
  • Ferguson, Niall D
  • Combes, Alain
  • Slutsky, Arthur S
  • Brodie, Daniel
  • Tanuseputro, Peter
  • Kyeremanteng, Kwadwo

publication date

  • November 8, 2022