THURSDAY, March 10, 2022 (HealthDay News) — For patients with severe COVID-19, a well-defined patient selection and management strategy of venovenous (VV) extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) results in high survival to discharge that is sustained at one year, according to a study published online March 10 in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

Deane E. Smith, M.D., from NYU Langone Health in New York City, and colleagues conducted a single-institution retrospective review of all patients with severe COVID-19 who were cannulated for VV-ECMO between March 10 and May 1, 2020.

Data were included for 30 patients (median age, 42 years) who were supported with VV-ECMO, 90 percent of whom survived to discharge. The researchers found that except for one patient (3.7 percent) who required supplemental oxygen therapy, all patients were discharged home or to acute rehabilitation on room air. Survival was 86.7 percent at a median follow-up of 10.8 months since ECMO cannulation, including one patient who received a lung transplant. Overall, 44.4 percent of the 27 patients discharged from the hospital had pulmonary function testing, with a 100 percent median percent predicted forced expiratory volume. A 6-minute walk test was performed in 59.3 percent of survivors, with a median value of 350 m.

“Our work suggests that with appropriately selected patients and aggressive management strategies, the use of ECMO support for severe COVID-19 can result in exceptional early survival, and these patients who leave the hospital without the need for oxygen therapy are very likely to remain alive and well one year later,” Smith said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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