Advanced mechanical circulatory support for post-cardiotomy cardiogenic shock: a 20-year outcome analysis in a non-transplant unit



Post-cardiotomy cardiogenic shock (PCCS) has an incidence of 2–6 % after routine adult cardiac surgery. 0.5–1.5 % are refractory to inotropic and intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) support. Advanced mechanical circulatory support (AMCS) can be used to salvage carefully selected number of such patients. High costs and major complication rates have lead to centralization and limited funding for such devices in the UK. We have looked the outcomes of such devices in a non-transplant, intermediate-size adult cardiothoracic surgery unit.


Inclusion criteria included any adult patient who had received salvage veno-arterial extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (V-A ECMO) or a ventricular assist device (VAD) for PCCS refractory to IABP and inotropic support following cardiac surgery from April 1995-April 2015.


Sixteen patients met the inclusion criteria. Age range was 34–83 years (median 71). There was a male predominance of 12 (75 %). Overall, 15 (94 %) had received ECMO of which, 10 (67 %) had received central ECMO and 5 (33 %) had received peripheral ECMO. One patient (6 %) had a VAD. The most common complication was haemorrhage. Stroke, femoral artery pseudo-aneurysm, sepsis and renal failure also occurred. Thirty-day survival was 37.5 %. Survival rate to hospital discharge was 31.2 %. All survivors had NYHA class I-II at 24 months follow-up.


Our survival rate is similar to that reported in several previous studies. However, the use of AMCS for refractory PCCS is associated with serious complications. The survivors in our cohort appear to maintain an acceptable quality of life.

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