The use of ecmo in hiv/aids with pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia: A case report and review of the literature

Kelly Cawcutt, Alice Gallo De Moraes, Sarah J. Lee, John G. Park, Gregory J. Schears, Michael E. Nemergut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


There are few reports of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) therapy for respiratory failure because of Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PJP) in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). None of the cases reported involvement of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), a paradoxical clinical worsening after the initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in ART-naïve patients because of an exaggerated systemic inflammation with cell count recovery. We present a patient with newly diagnosed AIDS and PJP pneumonia that progressed to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) secondary to probable IRIS for which veno-venous ECMO was initiated. He transitioned to conventional ventilator after 57 days of ECMO therapy. However, he did not survive to hospital discharge. Combined with four previously reported cases of ARDS in human immunodeficiency virus patients secondary to PJP treated with ECMO, three of the five patients survived to ECMO decannulation. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is considered an accepted modality for adult patients with respiratory and/or cardiac failure refractory to maximal medical therapy. As ECMO becomes increasingly utilized in clinical practice, there is ongoing controversy regarding the appropriate selection of patients. In the past, contraindications to ECMO included immunocompromised states and conditions with known poor prognosis. The cases herein suggest the indications and contraindications warrant further discussion and research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)606-608
Number of pages3
JournalASAIO Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • Case report
  • Critical care
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome
  • Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering

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