The following is a summary of “Health-related quality of life, one-year costs and economic evaluation in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in critically ill adults” published in the November 2022 issue of Critical Care by Lansink-Hartgring, et al.

The goal of this research was to document the first-year expenses of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) therapy in addition to its effects on survival and health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Intensive care unit patients who were given extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) between August 2017 and July 2019 were included in a prospective observational cohort study. In this study, researchers assessed the total cost of healthcare in the first year following index admission. In addition, they used the EQ-5D-5L to measure HRQOL at 6 and 12 months of follow-up.

In total, 428 patients who required an ECMO run during their ICU stay were included in the analysis. A year later, 50% of the population had perished. The 12-month follow-up data for 124 patients were available. At 12 months, survivors reported a mean HRQOL (utility) of 0.71 on a scale from 0 to 1. After 12 months, the patient’s health was rated as 73.6 on a VAS (scale 0-100). Hospital expenses accounted for the bulk of the first year’s total costs (mean: $204,513±211,590). Costs associated with absenteeism amounted to $7317±17,036, and the total cost of follow-up care was $53,752±$65,051.

About 1 year after requiring ECMO, the health-related quality of life is positive, with large costs, but considering the survival might be reasonable. However, the lack of follow-up severely constrains the findings. In addition, there is a possibility that only the most successful patients answered their questionnaires. In a real-world setting, this bias could lead to higher costs and lower HRQOL.