Extracorporeal life support (ECLS) for pediatric trauma: experience with five cases
- Cite this article as:
- Anderson, H.L., Coran, A.G., Schmeling, D.J. et al. Pediatr Surg Int (1990) 5: 302. doi:10.1007/BF00177095
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Extracorporeal life support (ECLS) was used to treat five pediatric trauma patients (ages 1 to 17 years) with respiratory failure unresponsive to conventional mechanical ventilation. Diagnoses in these patients that resulted in respiratory failure included hydrocarbon aspiration (one patient), multiple trauma with pulmonary contusion (two patients), bronchopleural fistula (one patient), and neardrowning (one patient). Time on ECLS bypass averaged 328 h (range 140–527 h). Physiologic complications included bleeding, cardiac arrest, cardiac tamponade, hypoxemia, and hypotension. Mechanical complications involving the bypass circuit included roller-pump raceway rupture, roller-pump failure, and membrane oxygenator failure. All complications were managed without mortality. Three of the five patients were decannulated from ECLS and survived. Support was terminated in the remaining two due to irreversibility of the pulmonary injury. ECLS may provide life-saving support to pediatric patients with respiratory failure after trauma when conventional means of ventilatory support have failed.