Perioperative Circulatory Support for Lung Transplantation

Gen Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2021 Apr;69(4):631-637


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has recently replaced cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) as the preferred option for providing circulatory support during lung transplantation. This review aimed to summarize the previous data and to address the relative use of ECMO and CPB during lung transplantation.


The database was searched in PubMed (Medline) using the following keywords: lung transplantation, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, and cardiopulmonary bypass, for all relevant reports which were written in English and were published between 2000 and 2020.


Several reports have revealed that intraoperative use of ECMO is associated with lower blood product transfusion requirements, shorter ventilator support, and shorter length of hospital stay. During recent years, preoperative ECMO has also been used with favorable outcomes as a bridge to lung transplantation in critically ill patients.


The use of ECMO during lung transplantation seems to reduce postoperative complications and improve short-term outcomes, relative to CPB. However, additional data should be collected through large multicenter randomized controlled trials. Furthermore, preoperative ECMO as a bridge to lung transplantation appears to provide favorable outcomes, although additional data are also needed from experienced transplant centers.