Venoarterial Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation in Massive Pulmonary Embolism-Related Cardiac Arrest: A Systematic Review.

EISSN: 1530-0293 ISSN: 0090-3493



Management of patients experiencing massive pulmonary embolism-related cardiac arrest is controversial. Venoarterial extracorporeal membranous oxygenation has emerged as a potential therapeutic option for these patients. We performed a systematic review assessing survival and predictors of mortality in patients with massive PE-related cardiac arrest with venoarterial extracorporeal membranous oxygenation use.


A literature search was started on February 16, 2020, and completed on March 16, 2020, using PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Central, Cinahl, and Web of Science.


We included all available literature that reported survival to discharge in patients managed with venoarterial extracorporeal membranous oxygenation for massive PE-related cardiac arrest.


We extracted patient characteristics, treatment details, and outcomes.


About 301 patients were included in our systemic review from 77 selected articles (total screened, n = 1,115). About 183 out of 301 patients (61%) survived to discharge. Patients (n = 51) who received systemic thrombolysis prior to cannulation had similar survival compared with patients who did not (67% vs 61%, respectively; p = 0.48). There was no significant difference in risk of death if PE was the primary reason for admission or not (odds ratio, 1.62; p = 0.35) and if extracorporeal membranous oxygenation cannulation occurred in the emergency department versus other hospital locations (odds ratio, 2.52; p = 0.16). About 53 of 60 patients (88%) were neurologically intact at discharge or follow-up. Multivariate analysis demonstrated three-fold increase in the risk of death for patients greater than 65 years old (adjusted odds ratio, 3.08; p = 0.03) and six-fold increase if cannulation occurred during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (adjusted odds ratio, 5.67; p = 0.03).


Venoarterial extracorporeal membranous oxygenation has an emerging role in the management of massive PE-related cardiac arrest with 61% survival. Systemic thrombolysis preceding venoarterial extracorporeal membranous oxygenation did not confer a statistically significant increase in risk of death, yet age greater than 65 and cannulation during cardiopulmonary resuscitation were associated with a three- and six-fold risks of death, respectively.

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