Role of extracorporeal life support after pulmonary endarterectomy: a single-centre experience Academic Article uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVES: Extracorporeal life support (ECLS) for rescue after pulmonary endarterectomy (PEA) has become a viable option. This study aims to present a single-centre experience looking at the indications and outcome of ECLS after PEA. METHODS: Retrospective analysis of all patients undergoing PEA from January 2008 to January 2015 in our institution. RESULTS: Among 144 consecutive patients undergoing PEA for chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, 6 (4%) received ECLS postoperatively for right ventricular (RV) failure (n = 3), severe hypoxaemia (n = 2) and haemorrhagic pulmonary oedema (n = 1). ECLS configuration was central veno-arterial (cVA) in 3 patients, peripheral VA (pVA) in 1 and veno-venous (VV) in 2. One patient with cVA was switched to VV after 5 days. Overall ECLS duration ranged between 3 and 39 (median 5) days. ECLS patients had higher preoperative total pulmonary vascular resistance (TPR) compared with non-ECLS patients (1477 ± 671 vs 954 ± 462, P = 0.009) and more frequently required hospital admission for RV failure before surgery (50 vs 9%, P = 0.02). The overall in-hospital mortality rate for all patients was 2% (3/144), including one ECLS patient on pVA. The remaining 5 ECLS patients (83%) were discharged from the hospital and are alive after a median follow-up of 11 (range 6-27) months. Two ECLS patients (40%) are on therapy for residual PH compared with 13 (10%) in the non-ECLS patients (P = 0.09). CONCLUSIONS: ECLS is a safe and important rescue option after PEA. The use of ECLS may expand eligibility for PEA by allowing sicker patients to undergo surgery.


  • Donahoe, Laura
  • Granton, John
  • McRae, Karen
  • Thenganatt, John
  • Moric, Jacov
  • Keshavjee, Shafique
  • de Perrot, Marc

publication date

  • July 2016