The use of VV-ECMO in patients with drug dependencies
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The purpose of this study is to determine the effect of illicit drug and alcohol dependencies on mortality, length of stay, and complications in patients who have been supported with veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV-ECMO) following respiratory failure not responsive to conventional methods of ventilation. 584 VV-ECMO referrals received at Wythenshawe Hospital were reviewed for evidence of drug dependency. 13 patients were identified as being drug-dependent and having undergone treatment with VV-ECMO. A matched cohort of 13 non-drug-dependent patients was identified using date of birth, pre-ECMO Murray Score, and primary diagnosis. The outcomes were compared. 19 more complications were found amongst the drug-dependent patients compared with the non-drug-dependent cohort (39 vs 20). A mean difference of 1.46 complications per patient was calculated (p = 0.005). Mortality after 180 days was reported in 4 of the drug-dependent patients, compared with one in the matched cohort. Length of stay on ECMO was increased on average by 1.93 days amongst the drug-dependent patients (p = 0.557); however, the sample size was not great enough to achieve statistical significance. Patients with drug dependencies undergoing VV-ECMO have more complications when compared with a cohort of patients with no proven or suspected drug dependencies. Differences in morbidity and mortality were not statistically significant.
KeywordsVV-ECMO Drug dependence Alcoholism Morbidity Mortality
Veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
Acute respiratory distress syndrome
Length of stay
World Health Organization
Renal replacement therapy
This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.
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