Role of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation in Critically Ill COVID-19 Patients and Predictors of Mortality

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Abstract

The role of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in the management of critically ill COVID-19 patients remains unclear. Our study aims to analyze the outcomes and risk factors from patients treated with ECMO. This retrospective, single-center study includes 17 COVID-19 patients treated with ECMO. Univariate and multivariate parametric survival regression identified predictors of survival. Nine patients (53%) were successfully weaned from ECMO and discharged. The incidence of in-hospital mortality was 47%. In a univariate analysis, only four out of 83 pre-ECMO variables were significantly different; IL-6, PCT, and NT-proBNP were significantly higher in non-survivors than in survivors. The Respiratory Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Survival Prediction (RESP) score was significantly higher in survivors. After a multivariate parametric survival regression, IL-6, NT-proBNP and RESP scores remained significant independent predictors, with hazard ratios (HR) of 1.069 [95%-CI: 0.986-1.160], = .016 1.001 [95%-CI: 1.000-1.001], = .012; and .843 [95%-CI: 0.564-1.260], = .040, respectively. A prediction model comprising IL-6, NT-proBNP, and RESP score showed an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.87, with a sensitivity of 87.5% and 77.8% specificity compared to an AUC of 0.79 for the RESP score alone. The present study suggests that ECMO is a potentially lifesaving treatment for selected critically ill COVID-19 patients. Considering IL-6 and NT-pro-BNP, in addition to the RESP score, may enhance outcome predictions.

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