J Cardiothorac Surg. 2014; 9: 72.



Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has been recommended for treatment of acute, potentially reversible, life-threatening respiratory failure unresponsive to conventional therapy. Intestinal mucosal barrier dysfunction is one of the most critical pathophysiological disorders during ECMO. This study aimed to determine whether combination with CRRT could alleviate damage of intestinal mucosal barrier function during VV ECMO in a porcine model.


Twenty-four piglets were randomly divided into control(C), sham(S), ECMO(E) and ECMO + CRRT(EC) group. The animals were treated with ECMO or ECMO + CRRT for 24 hours. After the experiments, piglets were sacrificed. Jejunum, ileum and colon were harvested for morphologic examination of mucosal injury and ultrastructural distortion. Histological scoring was assessed according to Chiu’s scoring standard. Blood samples were taken from the animals at -1, 2, 6, 12 and 24 h during experiment. Blood, liver, spleen, kidney and mesenteric lymphnode were collected for bacterial culture. Serum concentrations of diamine oxidase (DAO) and intestinal fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP) were tested as markers to assess intestinal epithelial function and permeability. DAO levels were determined by spectrophotometry and I-FABP levels by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay.


Microscopy findings showed that ECMO-induced intestinal microvillus shedding and edema, morphological distortion of tight junction between intestinal mucous epithelium and loose cell-cell junctions were significantly improved with combination of CRRT. No significance was detected on positive rate of serum bacterial culture. The elevated colonies of bacterial culture in liver and mesenteric lymphnode in E group reduced significantly in EC group (p < 0.05). Compared with E group, EC group showed significantly decreased level of serum DAO and I-FABP (p < 0.05).


CRRT can alleviate the intestinal mucosal dysfunction and bacterial translocation during VV ECMO, which may extenuate the ECMO-associated SIRS and raise the clinical effect and safety.

Keywords: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), Continuous renal replacement treatment (CRRT), Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), Intestinal mucosal barrier function

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