PLoS One. 2013; 8(12): e82258.


To analyze the clinical effect of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in children with acute fulminant myocarditis, we retrospectively analyzed the data of five children with acute fulminant myocarditis in the intensive care unit (ICU) at the Affiliated Children’s Hospital, Zhejiang University from February 2009 to November 2012. The study group included two boys and three girls ranging in age from 9 to 13 years (median 10 years). Body weight ranged from 25 to 33 kg (mean 29.6 kg). They underwent extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) through a venous-arterial ECMO model with an average ECMO supporting time of 89.8 h (40–142 h). Extracorporeal circulation was established in all five children. After treatment with ECMO, the heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation were greatly improved in the four children who survived. These four children were successfully weaned from ECMO and discharged from hospital machine-free, for a survival rate of 80% (4/5). One child died still dependent on the machine. Cause of death was irrecoverable cardiac function and multiple organ failure. Complications during ECMO included three cases of suture bleeding, one case of acute hemolytic renal failure and suture bleeding, and one case of hyperglycemia. During the follow-up period of 4–50 months, the four surviving children recovered with normal cardiac function and no abnormal functions of other organs. The application of ECMO in acute fulminant myocarditis, even in local centers that experience low incidence of this disease, remains an effective approach. Larger studies to determine optimal timing of placement on ECMO to guide local centers are warranted.

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