Journal of Artificial Organs

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 99–105 | Cite as

Clinical significance of echocardiography in patients supported by venous–venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation

  • Adriano Peris
  • Chiara Lazzeri
  • Giovanni Cianchi
  • Manuela Bonizzoli
  • Stefano Batacchi
  • Pasquale Bernardo
  • Serafina Valente
  • Gian Franco Gensini
Review Artificial Lung / ECMO


Although there are extensive published data regarding venous–arterial (VA) ECMO, particularly in the pediatric population, there is a paucity of data (mainly including case reports and observational studies) delineating the role of echocardiography in the management of adult patients supported by venous–venous (VV) ECMO. The present review is aimed at specifically addressing the rationale for echocardiography use in patients supported by VV-ECMO and at summarizing the available evidence on this topic. Based on the available evidence and on the experience of our group, practical considerations on the use of echocardiography in adult patients on VV-ECMO support are reported. To date, echocardiography is mainly used for selecting the type of ECMO (VA vs VV), monitoring cannulation and the early detection of complications, but it is underused in patients supported by VV-ECMO. Nevertheless, in these patients, this methodology can provide useful information in monitoring cardiac function, cannula positioning, pericardial fluid (for early detection of tamponade) during ECMO support, and therefore it can contribute to the integrated assessment and management of these complex patients. There is a clinical need to elaborate shared protocols for echocardiography use during VV ECMO support, particularly at this time when advanced echocardiography is gaining interest among intensivists.


Echocardiography Transthoracic Transesophageal Venous–venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation 



Extracorporeal membrane exygenation










Inferior vena cava


Superior vena cava


Right ventricle


Left ventricle


Intensive care unit


Conflict of interest

No conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society for Artificial Organs 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adriano Peris
    • 2
  • Chiara Lazzeri
    • 1
  • Giovanni Cianchi
    • 2
  • Manuela Bonizzoli
    • 2
  • Stefano Batacchi
    • 2
  • Pasquale Bernardo
    • 1
  • Serafina Valente
    • 1
  • Gian Franco Gensini
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Intensive Care Unit of Heart and Vessels DepartmentAzienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria CareggiFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.Anesthesia and Intensive Unit of Emergency DepartmentAzienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria CareggiFlorenceItaly
  3. 3.Department of Experimental and Clinical MedicineUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

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