Successful use of venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for complicated H1N1 pneumonia refractory to mechanical ventilation

Sachit A. Patel, Jeffrey S. DeMare, Edward J. Truemper, Joseph J. Deptula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In April 2009, novel H1N1 influenza A pneumonia was initially identified in young adults by the Mexican Health Ministry. Previously healthy patients progressing to multisystem organ failure were common. Worldwide, hospitals reported surges in intensive care admissions during the initial phase of the pandemic. In patients with H1N1 pneumonia refractory to mechanical ventilation, centers were initially reporting low survival rates despite the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). The initial poor outcomes and protracted ECMO treatment epochs resulted in centers limiting or withholding the use of ECMO in this population. With respect to children with H1N1 infection there was uncertainty concerning optimal incorporation of ECMO as a therapeutic option. In children with rapidly progressive pneumonia and hypoxia refractory to mechanical ventilation, venovenous (VV) ECMO has been successfully used with survival ranging from 40-60% depending on the etiology. We report the successful use of VV ECMO in two children with confirmed novel H1N1 complicated by bacterial pneumonia or morbid obesity. Our Institutional Review Board waived the need for consent. Prompt initiation of VV ECMO resulted in rapid clinical improvement, radiographic resolution of diffuse consolidation, and return of full neurocognitive function. For children with rapidly progressive respiratory distress on conventional ventilation, VV ECMO can be used to improve outcomes when initiated early in the disease process even in children with a significant co-morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-74
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Extra-Corporeal Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Acute respiratory distress
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • H1N1
  • Hypoxia
  • Influenza
  • Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Successful use of venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for complicated H1N1 pneumonia refractory to mechanical ventilation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this