In an effort to obtain data to provide the basis for the design of controlled clinical trials, we contacted all U.S. participants in the National ECMO Registry to assemble the national experience on the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis during the past 5 years. Twelve infants were treated at nine centers between 1983 and 1988. Eight had been born prematurely, and five had bronchopulmonary dysplasia. The mean age at onset of infection with respiratory syncytial virus was 108±102 days. The mean length of ventilator management before extracorporeal membrane oxygenation was 7.8±7.1 days. All infants had persistent hypoxemia with a mean arterial oxygen pressure of 39.2±11.7 torr (5.3±1.6 kPa) despite high ventilator pressures (mean airway pressure 19.7±6.4 cm H2O) and 100% inspired oxygen; six had air leak syndrome. Seven infants survived (58%). The mean duration of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for survivors was 233±139 hours. Preexisting chronic lung disease did not predict a poor outcome: four of the five infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia survived. Six of the survivors have subsequently achieved expected developmental milestones and one has slight motor delay. We conclude that, for infants with severe respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis whose condition deteriorates despite maximal ventilator management, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation may provide lifesaving support. The duration of successful treatment with this therapy may be longer than that for conventional neonatal indications, but excellent neurologic outcome may be expected in survivors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health