Similar frequency of atrial perforation between atrial and bicaval dual lumen veno-venous ECMO cannulas in a pediatric population

Akila Ramaraj, Guy Jensen, Samuel Rice-Townsend, Robert DiGeronimo, Larissa Yalon, Rebecca Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Complications associated with use of dual-lumen venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV-ECMO) cannulas are of concern in pediatric patients. While the risk of atrial perforation is believed to be higher with bicaval cannulas, direct comparison of complication rate between atrial and bicaval cannulas has not been conducted in this population. Methods: A retrospective review was conducted at a free-standing children’s hospital of all patients 0–18 years old, placed on VV-ECMO with a dual-lumen cannula from January 2009 to December 2018. Patients were grouped based on cannula type. Complications were assessed over the entire duration of the ECMO run. Logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate for an association between cannula type and risk of pericardial effusion or cannula-related complication requiring median sternotomy or pericardial drain placement. Results: During the study period 119 patients were placed on VVECMO using a dual-lumen cannula. Eighty-two patients (69%) were <2 years old, 19 (16%) were 2–10 years old, and 18 (15%) were 11–18 years old. Seventy-three were cannulated with an atrial cannula and 46 patients received a bicaval cannula. Pericardial effusions were seen in 30% and 24% of these patients respectively while severe complications were seen in 9.6% and 8.7% of patients respectively. Compared to patients treated with a bicaval cannula, those who received an atrial cannula had similar odds of effusions (OR: 1.41, 95% CI: 0.62–3.36) and severe complications (OR 0.89, 95% CI: 0.27–3.18). After adjusting for age, weight, cannula and circuit manipulations, and use of echocardiography, the OR of effusion was 1.91 (95% CI: 0.65–6.42), and the adjusted OR of severe complication was 0.69 (95% CI: 0.16–3.33). Conclusions: There were no significant differences in frequency of pericardial effusions or severe cannula-related complications between the treatment groups across all pediatric patients and within the subgroup of patients under 2 years of age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPerfusion (United Kingdom)
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • cannulas
  • complications
  • neonatal
  • pediatric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Safety Research
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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