The impact of levosimendan treatment on clinical outcome in patients undergoing extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support after cardiovascular surgery is unknown. We hypothesized that the beneficial effects of levosimendan might improve survival when adequate end-organ perfusion is ensured by concomitant ECMO therapy. We therefore studied the impact of levosimendan treatment on survival and failure of ECMO weaning in patients after cardiovascular surgery.
We enrolled a total of 240 patients undergoing veno-arterial ECMO therapy after cardiovascular surgery at a university-affiliated tertiary care centre into our observational single-centre registry.
During a median follow-up period of 37 months (interquartile range 19–67 months), 65% of patients died. Seventy-five per cent of patients received levosimendan treatment within the first 24 h after initiation of ECMO therapy. Cox regression analysis showed an association between levosimendan treatment and successful ECMO weaning [adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 0.41; 95% confience interval (CI) 0.22–0.80; P=0.008], 30 day mortality (adjusted HR 0.52; 95% CI 0.30–0.89; P=0.016), and long-term mortality (adjusted HR 0.64; 95% CI 0.42–0.98; P=0.04).
These data suggest an association between levosimendan treatment and improved short- and long-term survival in patients undergoing ECMO support after cardiovascular surgery.