Erin Niles, Mary Maldarelli, Joseph Hamera, Allison Lankford, Samuel M Galvagno, Ashley Menne, Kimberly Boswell, Raymond Rector, Daniel J Haase, Ali Tabatabai, Elizabeth K Powell

Cannula associated deep vein thromboses in COVID-19 patients supported with VV ECMO

  • Nephrology
  • Surgery

Background: VV ECMO is increasingly used as a rescue strategy for hypercarbic and hypoxic respiratory failure refractory to conventional management, and more than 14,000 patients with COVID-19 related respiratory failure have been supported with VV ECMO to date. One of the known complications of VV ECMO support is the development of cannula-associated deep vein thromboses (CaDVT). The purpose of this study was to identify the incidence of CaDVT in COVID-19 patients supported with VV ECMO as compared to non-COVID-19 patients. We hypothesized that due to the hypercoagulable state and longer duration of VV ECMO support required for patients with COVID-19, a higher incidence of CaDVT would be observed in these patients. Methods: This is a single center, retrospective observational study. About 291 non-trauma adult patients who were cannulated for VV ECMO and managed at our institution from January 1, 2014 to January 10, 2022 were included. The primary outcome was the presence of CaDVT 24 h after decannulation in COVID-19 versus non-COVID-19 patients. Our secondary outcome was continued presence of DVT on follow up imaging. CaDVT were defined as venous thrombi detected at prior cannulation sites. Results: Both groups had a high incidence of CaDVT. There was no significant difference in the incidence of CaDVT in COVID-19 patients compared to non-COVID-19 patients (95% vs 88%, p = 0.13). Patients with COVID-19 had an increased incidence of persistent CaDVT on repeat imaging (78% vs 56%, p = 0.03). Conclusion: Given the high number of post-decannulation CaDVT in both groups, routine screening should be a part of post ECMO care in both populations. Repeat venous duplex ultrasound should be performed to assess for the need for ongoing treatment given the high incidence of CaDVT that persisted on repeat duplex scans.

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