Background: ECMO is an established supportive adjunct for patients with severe, refractory ARDS from viral pneumonia. However, the exact role and timing of ECMO for COVID-19 patients remains unclear. Methods: We conducted a retrospective comparison of the first 32 patients with COVID-19-associated ARDS to the last 28 patients with influenza-associated ARDS placed on V-V ECMO. We compared patient factors between the two cohorts and used survival analysis to compare the hazard of mortality over sixty days post-cannulation. Results: COVID-19 patients were older (mean 47.8 vs. 41.2 years, p = 0.033), had more ventilator days before cannulation (mean 4.5 vs. 1.5 days, p < 0.001). Crude in-hospital mortality was significantly higher in the COVID-19 cohort at 65.6% (n = 21/32) versus 36.3% (n = 11/28, p = 0.041). The adjusted hazard ratio over sixty days for COVID-19 patients was 2.81 (95% CI 1.07, 7.35) after adjusting for age, race, ECMO-associated organ failure, and Charlson Comorbidity Index. Conclusion: ECMO has a role in severe ARDS associated with COVID-19 but providers should carefully weigh patient factors when utilizing this scarce resource in favor of influenza pneumonia.
- Critical care
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