BMC pulmonary medicine 2016 04 1416(1) 52 doi 10.1186/s12890-016-0214-4
Pulmonary infections caused by Pneumocystis jirovecii in immunocompromised host can be associated with cysts, pneumatoceles and air leaks that can progress to pneumomediastinum and pneumothoraxes. In such cases, it can be challenging to maintain adequate gas exchange by conventional mechanical ventilation and at the same time prevent further ventilator-induced lung injury. We report a young HIV positive male with poorly compliant lungs and pneumomediastinum secondary to severe Pneumocystis infection, rescued with veno-venous extra corporeal membrane oxygenation (V-V ECMO).
A 26 year old male with no significant past medical history was admitted with fever, cough and shortness of breath. He initially required non-invasive ventilation for respiratory failure. However, his respiratory function progressively deteriorated due to increasing pulmonary infiltrates and development of pneumomediastinum, eventually requiring endotracheal intubation and invasive ventilation. Despite attempts at optimizing gas exchange by ventilatory maneuvers, patients’ pulmonary parameters worsened necessitating rescue ECMO therapy. The introduction of V-V ECMO facilitated the use of ultra-protective lung ventilation and prevented progression of pneumomediastinum, maintaining optimal gas exchange. It allowed time for the antibiotics to show effect and pulmonary parenchyma to heal. Further diagnostic workup revealed Pneumocystis jirovecii as the causative organism for pneumonia and serology confirmed Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection. Patient was successfully treated with appropriate antimicrobials and de-cannulated after six days of ECMO support.
ECMO was an effective salvage therapy in HIV positive patient with an otherwise fatal respiratory failure due to Pneumocystis pneumonia and air leak syndrome.