Considering the important management implications reported by most centers when intracranial hemorrhage is diagnosed, perhaps clinicians should consider widening their indications for early neuroimaging.
Intracranial hemorrhage is one of the most dreaded complications associated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. However, robust data to guide clinical practice are lacking. We aimed to describe the current perceptions and practices surrounding the risk, prevention, diagnosis, management, and prognosis of intracranial hemorrhage in patients on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.
We conducted an international, cross-sectional survey of adult extracorporeal membrane oxygenation centers using a self-administered electronic questionnaire sent to medical directors and program coordinators of all 290 adult centers member of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization.
There were 143 respondents (49%). The median proportion of patients having neuroimaging performed was only 1-25% in venovenous-extracorporeal membrane oxygenation patients and 26-50% in venoarterial-extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The majority of participants (58%) tolerated a PaO2 < 60 mm Hg on venovenous-extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Lower PaO2 targets were inversely correlated with the reported incidence of intracranial hemorrhage (r =−0.247; p = 0.024). In patients with intracranial hemorrhage, most participants reported stopping anticoagulation, and median targets for blood product administration were 70,000-99,000 platelets/µL, 1.5-1.9 of international normalized ratio, and 1.6-2.0 g/L of fibrinogen.
We found significant heterogeneity in the perceptions and practices. This underlines the need for more research to appropriately guide patient management. Importantly, neuroimaging was performed only in a minority of patients. Considering the important management implications reported by most centers when intracranial hemorrhage is diagnosed, perhaps clinicians should consider widening their indications for early neuroimaging.
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