The addition of an intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) during peripheral venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA ECMO) support has been shown to improve coronary bypass graft flows and cardiac function in refractory cardiogenic shock after cardiac surgery. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of additional IABP support on the cerebral blood flow (CBF) in patients with peripheral VA ECMO following cardiac procedures.
Twelve patients (mean age 60.40 ± 9.80 years) received VA ECMO combined with IABP support for postcardiotomy cardiogenic shock after coronary artery bypass grafting. The mean CBF in the bilateral middle cerebral arteries was measured with and without IABP counterpulsation by transcranial Doppler. The patients provided their control values. The mean CBF data were divided into two groups (pulsatile pressure greater than 10 mmHg, P group; pulsatile pressure less than 10 mmHg, N group) based on whether the patients experienced cardiac stun. The mean cerebral blood flow in VA ECMO (IABP turned off) alone and VA ECMO with IABP support were compared using the paired t test.
All of the patients were successfully weaned from VA ECMO, and eight patients survived to discharge. The addition of IABP to VA ECMO did not change the mean CBF (251.47 ± 79.28 ml/min vs. 251.30 ± 79.47 ml/min, P = 0.96). The mean CBF was higher in VA ECMO alone than in VA ECMO combined with IABP support in the N group (257.68 ± 97.21 ml/min vs. 239.47 ± 95.60, P = 0.00). The addition of IABP to VA ECMO support increased the mean CBF values significantly compared with VA ECMO alone (261.68 ± 82.45 ml/min vs. 244.43 ± 45.85 ml/min, P = 0.00) in the P group.
These results demonstrate that an IABP significantly changes the CBF during peripheral VA ECMO, depending on the antegrade blood flow by spontaneous cardiac function. The addition of an IABP to VA ECMO support decreased the CBF during cardiac stun, and it increased CBF without cardiac stun.