Primary graft dysfunction (PGD) is a rare complication associated with high mortality after heart transplantation, which may require veno-arterial extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) support. A standardized definition for PGD was developed by the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation in 2014. Due to limited reports using this definition, the detailed outcomes after VA-ECMO support remain unclear. Therefore, we retrospectively analyzed our single-center outcomes of PGD following VA-ECMO support. Between September 2014 and August 2018, 160 patients underwent heart transplantation in our single center. Nine PGD patients required VA-ECMO support, with an incidence of 5.6%. Pre-operative recipient/donor demographics, intra-operative variables, timing of VA-ECMO initiation and support duration, graft function recovery during 30 days after heart transplant, VA-ECMO complications, and survival were analyzed. The indication for VA-ECMO support was biventricular failure for all nine patients. Six patients had severe PGD requiring intra-operative VA-ECMO, while two patients had moderate PGD and one patient had mild PGD requiring post-operative VA-ECMO. All cohorts were successfully decannulated in a median of 10 days. Survival to discharge rate was 88.9%. One-year survival rate was 85.7%. Left ventricular ejection fraction recovered to normal within 30 days in all PGD patients. Our study showed VA-ECMO support led to high survival and timely graft function recovery in all cohorts. Further larger research can clarify the detailed effects of VA-ECMO support which may lead to standardized indication of VA-ECMO support for PGD patients.
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Conflict of interest
No funding was provided for this study. No authors have any conflicts of interest or any financial relationships with commercial entities to disclose.
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