In-hospital and 6-month outcomes in patients with COVID-19 supported with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (EuroECMO-COVID): a multicentre, prospective observational study

EuroECMO-COVID Study Group

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28 Scopus citations


Background: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has been widely used in patients with COVID-19, but uncertainty remains about the determinants of in-hospital mortality and data on post-discharge outcomes are scarce. The aims of this study were to investigate the variables associated with in-hospital outcomes in patients who received ECMO during the first wave of COVID-19 and to describe the status of patients 6 months after ECMO initiation. Methods: EuroECMO-COVID is a prospective, multicentre, observational study developed by the European Extracorporeal Life Support Organization. This study was based on data from patients aged 16 years or older who received ECMO support for refractory COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic—from March 1 to Sept 13, 2020—at 133 centres in 21 countries. In-hospital mortality and mortality 6 months after ECMO initiation were the primary outcomes. Mixed-Cox proportional hazards models were used to investigate associations between patient and management-related variables (eg, patient demographics, comorbidities, pre-ECMO status, and ECMO characteristics and complications) and in-hospital deaths. Survival status at 6 months was established through patient contact or institutional charts review. This study is registered with, NCT04366921, and is ongoing. Findings: Between March 1 and Sept 13, 2020, 1215 patients (942 [78%] men and 267 [22%] women; median age 53 years [IQR 46–60]) were included in the study. Median ECMO duration was 15 days (IQR 8–27). 602 (50%) of 1215 patients died in hospital, and 852 (74%) patients had at least one complication. Multiorgan failure was the leading cause of death (192 [36%] of 528 patients who died with available data). In mixed-Cox analyses, age of 60 years or older, use of inotropes and vasopressors before ECMO initiation, chronic renal failure, and time from intubation to ECMO initiation of 4 days or more were associated with higher in-hospital mortality. 613 patients did not die in hospital, and 547 (95%) of 577 patients for whom data were available were alive at 6 months. 102 (24%) of 431 patients had returned to full-time work at 6 months, and 57 (13%) of 428 patients had returned to part-time work. At 6 months, respiratory rehabilitation was required in 88 (17%) of 522 patients with available data, and the most common residual symptoms included dyspnoea (185 [35%] of 523 patients) and cardiac (52 [10%] of 514 patients) or neurocognitive (66 [13%] of 512 patients) symptoms. Interpretation: Patient's age, timing of cannulation (<4 days vs ≥4 days from intubation), and use of inotropes and vasopressors are essential factors to consider when analysing the outcomes of patients receiving ECMO for COVID-19. Despite post-discharge survival being favourable, persisting long-term symptoms suggest that dedicated post-ECMO follow-up programmes are required. Funding: None.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-162
Number of pages12
JournalThe Lancet Respiratory Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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