This study clearly depicts that Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a life-saving modality that improves the survival of patients. However, the potential for associated vascular complications can continue to affect the patient’s mortality and morbidity. In the present study, we determined the frequency, nature, and risk factors for vascular complications associated with peripheral venoarterial (VA) ECMO.

We performed a retrospective review of patients who had undergone peripheral VA ECMO from 2014 to 2018. Data on demographics, comorbidities, indications, type, and complications were extracted from the electronic and paper medical records.

A total of 110 ECMO patients were identified, 65 of whom had undergone peripheral VA ECMO. The mean age was 48 ± 13.3 years, and most were men (65%; n = 42). Right-sided peripheral arterial cannulations were more common (65%; n = 42). Vascular complications included 20 cases of limb ischemia (31%) and 5 cases of stroke (8%). Nearly one half of the patients had developed renal failure requiring dialysis (46%; n = 30). The incidence of ischemic vascular complications is frequent in patients undergoing VA ECMO and contributes to the increased mortality and morbidity. Open surgical treatment options are the cornerstone for managing vascular complications of ECMO.

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