Use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in the septic neonate

Jeffrey R. Horwitz, Lamia F. Elerian, John W. Sparks, Kevin P. Lally

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is widely used for cardiopulmonary support in neonates with cardiopulmonary failure secondary to overwhelming sepsis. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of culture status on the eventual outcome of septic neonates requiring ECMO support. Data from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) for the years 1990 through 1992 inclusive were collected and analyzed for all neonates with a primary diagnosis of sepsis. Records were reviewed for gestational age, birth weight, culture status and isolated organism, last arterial blood gas before beginning ECMO, hemorrhagic complications during bypass, and overall survival. Gram-positive sepsis accounted for 85% of positive cultures. Group B streptococcus (GBS) and Escherichia coli were the most commonly isolated organisms (GBS: 95% of all gram-positive sepsis; E coli: 76% of all gram-negative sepsis) from culture-positive patients. Culture-negative patients were found to have a significantly lower mortality rate compared with culture positive patients (16.6% versus 26.9%, P < .001). The incidence of intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) was greater in culture-positive neonates when compared with culture negative (27.6% versus 20.1%, P < .05). There was no difference in the incidence of ICH or eventual outcome between gram-positive and gram-negative sepsis. The culture-positive, septic neonate who requires ECMO support appears to be at an increased risk for intracranial hemorrhage and death. Intracranial hemorrhage appears to be the primary factor affecting survival in these patients. The etiologic organism does not affect the incidence of ICH or outcome. Frequent head ultrasounds and strict control of coagulation parameters are recommended in this patient population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)813-815
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • neonate
  • sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in the septic neonate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this