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Journal Articles Journal of Artificial Organs Year : 2020

Spinal cord infarction during venoarterial-extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support


Spinal cord infarction (SCI) is a rare disease among central nervous system vascular diseases. Only a little is known about venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO)-related SCI. Retrospective observational study conducted, from 2006 to 2019, in a tertiary referral center on patients who developed VA-ECMO-related neurovascular complications, focusing on SCI. During this period, among the 1893 patients requiring VA-ECMO support, 112 (5.9%) developed an ECMO-related neurovascular injury: 65 (3.4%) ischemic strokes, 40 (2.1%) intracranial bleeding, one cerebral thrombophlebitis (0.05%) and 6 (0.3%) spinal cord infarction. Herein, we report a series of six patients with refractory cardiogenic shock or cardiac arrest receiving circulatory support with VA-ECMO who developed subsequent SCI during ECMO course, confirmed by spine MRI after ECMO withdrawal. All six patients had long-term neurological disabilities. VA-ECMO-related SCI is a rare but catastrophic complication. Its diagnosis is usually delayed due to sedation requirement and/or ICU acquired weakness after sedation withdrawal, leading to difficulties in monitoring their neurological status. Even if no specific treatment exist for SCI, its prompt diagnosis is mandatory, to prevent secondary spine insults of systemic origin. Based on these results, we suggest that daily sedation interruption and neurological exam of the lower limbs should be performed in all VA-ECMO patients. Large registries are mandatory to determine VA-ECMO-related SCI risk factor and potential therapy.

Dates and versions

hal-03101550 , version 1 (07-01-2021)



Loïc Le Guennec, Natalia Shor, Bruno Levy, Guillaume Lebreton, Pascal Leprince, et al.. Spinal cord infarction during venoarterial-extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support. Journal of Artificial Organs, 2020, 23 (4), pp.388-393. ⟨10.1007/s10047-020-01179-8⟩. ⟨hal-03101550⟩
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