Clinical Reflections on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation
An increasing number of patients in the prime of their lives, holding responsible positions in society to which they would return, undergo open heart surgery with extracorporeal circulation. Perhaps the time has come to consider the effects of heart-lung bypass in greater depth not only from the short-term but also the long-term point of view. There is increasing experimental and clinical evidence that during perfusion there are changes at cellular level which may or may not cause permanent damage to vital organs. This damage, although undetectable by tests available to most of us, may in the long run lead to such conditions as premature deterioration of mental faculties and dimished cardio-pulmonary reserves resulting in a poorer quality of life for the patient.