Primary graft dysfunction (PGD) is the leading cause of early mortality after heart transplantation. Typically, mechanical circulatory support is necessary to provide hemodynamic support and to enable graft recovery. However, both the reported incidence of PGD and the reported salvage rates with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) vary widely. This may partly be due to variations in the definition of PGD and its levels of severity. We analyzed a prospectively maintained database of 255 transplant recipients at our institution to determine the effectiveness of ECMO support in those who develop severe PGD as defined by the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation consensus guidelines. Nineteen (7.5%) patients (aged 32-69 years) developed severe PGD and were treated with veno-arterial (VA) ECMO, which was initiated in the operating room at the time of transplant in most patients. The majority received VA ECMO through femoral cannulation. Two patients required veno-venous ECMO for respiratory support after VA ECMO separation. The 30-day in-hospital survival rate following transplantation was 63% (n = 12). In conclusion, ECMO proved to be a viable option for early hemodynamic support in patients with severe PGD and has become our preferred modality for mechanical circulatory support in these patients.

Join the Missouri Perfusion Society to Read the Full Article.

Members have unlimited access to our article archives, reduced meeting registration fees, and more!

Join Now