DOI: 10.1111/aor.14639 ISSN:

Antithrombin III supplementation during neonatal and pediatric extracorporeal membrane oxygenation

Noy Meshulami, Robert Green, Shubhi Kaushik
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Medicine
  • Biomaterials
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Bioengineering



Bleeding and thrombosis are common extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) complications associated with increased mortality. Heparin is the most commonly used ECMO anticoagulant, employed in 94% of cases. Reduced antithrombin III (AT3) levels could decrease heparin effectiveness. Neonates have inherently lower levels of AT3 than adults, and pediatric patients on ECMO can develop AT3 deficiency. One potential approach for patients on ECMO with AT3 deficiency is exogenous AT3 supplementation. However, there is conflicting data concerning the use of AT3 for pediatric and neonatal patients on ECMO.


We analyzed the Bleeding and Thrombosis during ECMO database of 514 neonatal and pediatric patients on ECMO. We constructed daily regression models to determine the association between AT3 supplementation and rates of bleeding and thrombosis. Given the physiological differences between pediatric patients and neonates, we constructed separate models for each.


AT3 administration was associated with increased rates of daily bleeding among pediatric (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.59, p < 0.01) and neonatal (aOR 1.37, p = 0.04) patients. AT3 supplementation did not reduce the rate of thrombosis for either pediatric or neonatal patients.


AT3 administration was associated with increased rates of daily bleeding, a hypothesized potential complication of AT3 supplementation. In addition, AT3 supplementation did not result in lower rates of thrombosis. We recommend clinicians utilize caution when considering supplementing patients on ECMO with exogenous AT3.

More from our Archive