Flexible Bronchoscopy in Pediatric Venovenous Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation

Elizabeth A. Rosner, Jessica L Parker, Caryn Vandenberg, Brian C. Bridges, Todd J. Kilbaugh, Melania M. Bembea, Ranjit S. Chima, Renee M Potera, Hitesh S. Sandhu, Ryan P. Barbaro, Keiko M. Tarquinio, Ira M. Cheifetz, Matthew L. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Pediatric patients with ARDS will on occasion need venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV-ECMO) for organ support. As these patients recover, they may benefit from lung recruitment maneuvers including flexible bronchoscopy (FB). The objective of this study was to assess the clinical course of patients who underwent FB while on VV-ECMO for ARDS. METHODS: This was a secondary analysis of a retrospective multi-center cohort at 10 United States pediatric academic quaternary care centers. Data were collected on 204 subjects age 14 d-18 y on VV-ECMO. RESULTS: 271 FBs were performed on 129 (63%) subjects. Pre-FB tidal volume was 1.8 mL/kg compared to 2.22 mL/kg following FB (P = .007). Dynamic compliance also improved from pre-FB to post-FB (2.23 vs 3.04 mL/cm H2O, P = .005). There was a low incidence of complications following FB (3.1%). Subjects in the FB group had fewer ECMO-free days (EFDs) (17.9 vs 22.1 d, P < .001), fewer ventilator-free days (VFDs) (40.0 vs 46.5 d, P = .001), and longer ICU length of stay (LOS) (18 vs 32 d, P < .001). Subjects in the early versus late FB group had more EFDs (19.4 vs 15.2 d, P = .003), more VFDs (43.0 vs 34.0 d, P = .004), and shorter ICU LOS (27.5 vs 35.5 d, P = .045). Mortality in the subjects who had at least one FB was 27.1% compared to 40% in the subjects who did not have a FB while on VV-ECMO (P = .057). CONCLUSIONS: FB can be performed on patients while anticoagulated on VV-ECMO with a low incidence of complications. FB may be beneficial especially when performed early in the course of VV-ECMO.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)688-693
Number of pages6
JournalRespiratory care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022


  • flexible bronchoscopy; venovenous ECMO
  • lung recruitment
  • mechanical ventilation
  • pediatric ARDS
  • pulmonary clearance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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