Advanced age is a known risk factor for poor outcomes after veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (V-A ECMO) for cardiac support. The use of ECMO support in patients over the age of 80 is controversial, and sometimes its use is contraindicated. We aimed to assess the use of ECMO in octogenarian patients to determine survival and complication rates.
A single-center, retrospective analysis was completed at a large, urban academic medical center. Patients requiring V-A ECMO support between December of 2012 and November of 2019 were included as long as the patient was at least 80 years of age at the time of cannulation. Post cardiotomy shock patients were excluded.
A total of 46 patients met eligibility criteria; all received V-A ECMO support. Overall, the majority of patients (71.7%; 33/46) survived to decannulation, and 43.5% (20/46) survived to discharge. Patients who were previously rescued from percutaneous interventions tend to have a better survival than other patients (p = .06). The most common complications were renal and hemorrhagic.
We demonstrated that advanced age alone should not disqualify patients from cannulating and supporting with V-A ECMO