Using ECMO for traumatic patients has had some promising papers through the years, but the data overall is still poor. Justyna Swol has teamed up with ELSO to improve this deficiency by making a trauma carve out of the ELSO registry. In this episode, Zack discusses with Justyna the many facets of ECMO in trauma. A few pearls and references are below:
- Anticoagulation in ECMO is not mandatory. A reasonable strategy is heparinized circuit with a titrating dose of systemic heparin as necessary in the trauma patient. This includes everyone from isolated pulmonary contusions to intracranial hemorrhage.
- VV-ECMO similar to ARDS in medical causes can be used and likely offers survival benefit to those patients with post traumatic lung injury. Initiating early (maybe PaO2 of 80 on 100% FiO2) is likely best.
- ECPR can be done in the traumatic arrest. Best when done in parallel to the other resuscitative needs of the patient. Data is promising in case series. Need for bigger data sets is clear.