Purpose Sedation in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is challenging. Patients require deep sedation because of extremely high respiratory rates and increased work of breathing (“Drowning Syndrome”) resulting in altered intra-thoracic pressure and reduced pump flow associated with hemodynamic compromise and decreased oxygenation. However, deep sedation impedes essential active rehabilitation with physical therapy. Methods We reviewed data on 3 ECMO patients for whom we used a novel approach to replace continuous drips with periodic sedation/paralysis. Initially our patients were on high dose narcotics, propofol, and dexmedetomidine and unable to interact and breathe comfortably. IV narcotics were weaned over 24 h and were replaced by methadone. Dexmedetomidine was continued in order to block hyperadrenergic events. Propofol was weaned at a prescribed rate. When patients demonstrated agitation, decreased pump flow and hemodynamic compromise, diazepam was given in combination with a paralytic. Results By replacing IV narcotic and propofol, with PRN diazepam and vecuronium, patients were off continuous drips in 1 week and were able to actively participate in physical therapy. Conclusion Allowing patients to wake up by rapid weaning of continuous narcotics and anesthetic agents using Dexmedetomidine and periodic paralysis to favorably alter hemodynamics is a successful method to wean deep sedation in ECMO.
- Lung transplant
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine