Effective and safe practices during extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) including infection precautions and securement of lines (cannulas and circuits) are critical to prevent life-threatening patient complications, yet little is known about the practices of bedside clinicians and data to support best practice is lacking. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify and describe common line-related practices for patients supported by peripheral ECMO worldwide and to highlight any gaps for further investigation. An electronic survey was conducted to examine common line practices for patients managed on peripheral ECMO. Responses were obtained from 45 countries with the majority from the United States (n = 181) and United Kingdom (n = 32). Standardised infection precautions including hand hygiene, maximal barrier precautions and skin antisepsis were commonplace for cannulation. The most common antisepsis strategies included alcohol-based chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) for cannula insertion (53%) and maintenance (54%), isopropyl alcohol on circuit access ports (39%), and CHG-impregnated dressings to cover insertion sites (36%). Adverse patient events due to line malposition or dislodgement were reported by 34% of respondents with most attributable to ineffective securement. Centres ‘always’ suturing peripheral cannula sites were more likely to experience a cannula adverse event than centres that ‘never’ sutured (35% [95% CI 30, 41] vs 0% [95% CI 0, 28]; Chi-square 4.40; p = 0.04) but this did not meet the a priori significance level of <0.01. An evidence-based guideline would be beneficial to improve ECMO line management according to 78% of respondents. Evidence gaps were identified for antiseptic agents, dressing products and regimens, securement methods, and needleless valves. Future research addressing these areas may provide opportunities for consensus guideline development and practice improvement.
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