Characteristics of Pediatric Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Programs in the United States and Canada

ASAIO J. 2020 Nov 9. Online ahead of print

The aim of this study was to evaluate the current infrastructure and practice characteristics of pediatric extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) programs. A 40-question survey of center-specific demographics, practice structure, program experience, and support network utilized to cannulate and maintain a pediatric patient on ECMO was designed via a web-based survey tool. The survey was distributed to pediatric ECMO programs in the United States and Canada. Of the 101 centers that were identified to participate, 41 completed the survey. The majority of responding centers are university affiliated (73%) and have an intensive care unit (ICU) with 15–25 beds (58%). Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation has been offered for >10 years in 85% of the centers. The median number of total cannulations per center in 2017 was 15 (interquartile range [IQR] = 5–30), with the majority occurring in the cardiovascular intensive care unit (median = 13, IQR = 5–25). Fifty-seven percent of responding centers offer ECPR, with a median number of four cases per year (IQR = 2–7). Most centers cannulate in an operating room or ICU; 11 centers can cannulate in the pediatric ED. Sixty-three percent of centers have standardized protocols for postcannulation management. The majority of protocols guide anticoagulation, sedation, or ventilator management; left ventricle decompression and reperfusion catheter placement are the least standardized procedures. The majority of pediatric ECMO centers have adopted the infrastructure recommendations from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization. However, there remains broad variability of practice characteristics and organizational infrastructure for pediatric ECMO centers across the United States and Canada.