Venoarterial Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation is A Viable Option as A Bridge to Heart Transplant

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2022 Jan;163(1):140-147

Objective

Venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is a rescue therapy for patients in cardiogenic shock. We hypothesize that patients bridged to heart transplant with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation have decreased survival.

Methods

The United Network of Organ Sharing database was retrospectively reviewed from January 1, 1999, to March 31, 2018, for heart transplant recipients. Recipients bridged with any form of mechanical support and those without support were compared with recipients bridged with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. The primary end point was restricted mean survival time through 16.7 years.

Results

Of 26,918 recipients, 15,076 required no pretransplant mechanical support (56.0%). Support patients included 9321 with left ventricular assist devices (34.6%), 53 with right ventricular assist devices (0.2%), 258 with total artificial hearts (1.0%), 686 with biventricular assist devices (2.6%), 1378 with intra-aortic balloon pumps (5.1%), and 146 who required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (0.5%). In the first 16.7 years post-transplant, compared with recipients bridged with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, estimated adjusted restricted mean survival time was higher in patients who required no mechanical support (16.6 months [14.0-19.4]) and patients with a left ventricular assist device (16.5 months [99% confidence interval, 13.9-19.2]), an intra-aortic balloon pump (11.2 months [8.3-14.7]), or a biventricular assist device (6.6 months [3.6-10.3]). Restricted mean survival time in patients with a right ventricular assist device or a total artificial heart was similar to patients with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

Conclusions

Recipients bridged with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation were estimated to survive 16.6 months less than nonmechanical circulatory support recipients. Bridge to heart transplant with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is a viable option, and these patients should be considered transplant candidates.