Although survival to hospital discharge among children requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support for medical and surgical cardio-circulatory failure has been reported in international registries, extended survival and re-hospitalisation rates have not been well described in the literature.
This is a single-institution, retrospective review of all paediatric patients receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for primary cardiac dysfunction over a 5-year period.
A total of 74 extracorporeal membrane oxygenation runs in 68 patients were identified, with a median follow-up of 5.4 years from hospital discharge. Overall, 66% of patients were decannulated alive and 25 patients (37%) survived to discharge. There were three late deaths at 5 months, 20 months, and 6.8 years from discharge. Of the hospital survivors, 88% required re-hospitalisation, with 63% of re-admissions for cardiac indications. The median number of hospitalisations per patient per year was 0.62, with the first re-admission occurring at a mean time of 9 months after discharge from the index hospitalisation. In all, 38% of patients required further cardiac surgery.
Extended survival rates for paediatric hospital survivors of cardiac extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support for medical and post-surgical indications are encouraging. However, re-hospitalisation within the first year following hospital discharge is common, and many patients require further cardiac surgery. Although re-admission hospital mortality is low, longer-term follow-up of quality-of-life indicators is required.
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