The Prolonged Use of VV ECMO Support in COVID-19: A Case Report

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2020-0034

COVID-19 has resulted in unprecedented global health and economic challenges. The reported mortality in patients with COVID-19 requiring mechanical ventilation is high. VV ECMO may serve as a lifesaving rescue therapy for a minority of patients with COVID-19; however, its impact on overall survival of these patients is unknown. To date, few reports describe successful discharge from ECMO in COVID-19 after a prolonged ECMO run. The only Australian case of a COVID-19 patient, supported by prolonged VV ECMO in conjunction with prone ventilation, complicated by significant airway bleeding, and successfully decannulated after forty-two days, is described. VV ECMO is a resource-intense form of respiratory support. Providing complex therapies such as VV ECMO during a pandemic has its unique challenges. This case report provides a unique insight into the potential clinical sequelae of COVID-19, supported in an intensive care environment which was not resource-limited at the time, and adds to the evolving experience of prolonged VV ECMO support for ARDS with a goal to lung recovery.

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