Extracorporeal Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation in the Pediatric Cardiac Population: In Search of a Standard of Care

Javier J. Lasa, Parag Jain, Tia T. Raymond, Charles G. Minard, Alexis Topjian, Vinay Nadkarni, Michael Gaies, Melania Bembea, Paul A. Checchia, Lara S. Shekerdemian, Ravi Thiagarajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objectives: Although clinical and pharmacologic guidelines exist for the practice of cardiopulmonary resuscitation in children (Pediatric Advanced Life Support), the practice of extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation in pediatric cardiac patients remains without universally accepted standards. We aim to explore variation in extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation procedures by surveying clinicians who care for this high-risk patient population. Design: A 28-item cross-sectional survey was distributed via a web-based platform to clinicians focusing on cardiopulmonary resuscitation practices and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation team dynamics immediately prior to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation cannulation. Settings: Pediatric hospitals providing extracorporeal mechanical support services to patients with congenital and/or acquired heart disease. Subjects: Critical care/cardiology specialist physicians, cardiothoracic surgeons, advanced practice nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation specialists. Interventions: None. Measurements and Main Results: Survey web links were distributed over a 2-month period with critical care and/or cardiology physicians comprising the majority of respondents (75%). Nearly all respondents practice at academic/teaching institutions (97%), 89% were from U.S./Canadian institutions and 56% reported less than 10 years of clinical experience. During extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation, a majority of respondents reported adherence to guideline recommendations for epinephrine bolus dosing (64%). Conversely, 19% reported using only one to three epinephrine bolus doses regardless of extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation duration. Inotropic support is held after extracorporeal membrane oxygenation cannulation "most of the time" by 58% of respondents and 94% report using afterload reducing/antihypertensive agents "some" to "most of the time" after achieving full extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support. Interruptions in chest compressions are common during active cannulation according to 77% of respondents. Conclusions: The results of this survey identify wide variability in resuscitative practices during extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the pediatric cardiac population. The deviations from established Pediatric Advanced Life Support CPR guidelines support a call for further inquiry into the pharmacologic and logistical care surrounding extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-130
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Critical Care Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • cardiac arrest
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • congenital heart disease
  • extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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