Incidence and predictors of weaning failure from veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation therapy in patients with cardiogenic shock

Angela Dettling (Hamburg)1, C. Kellner (Hamburg)1, J. Sundermeyer (Hamburg)2, B. Beer (Hamburg)3, L. C. Besch (Hamburg)3, L. F. Bertoldi (Milan)4, S. Blankenberg (Hamburg)3, J. Dauw (Ghent)5, D. Eckner (Nürnberg)6, I. Eitel (Lübeck)7, T. Graf (Lübeck)7, P. Horn (Düsseldorf)8, J. Jozwiak-Nozdrzykowska (Leipzig)9, P. Kirchhof (Hamburg)3, S. Kluge (Hamburg)10, J. Krais (Regensburg)11, D. von Lewinski (Graz)12, A. Linke (Dresden)13, P. Lüdike (Essen)14, E. Lüsebrink (München)15, P. Nordbeck (Würzburg)16, F. Pappalardo (Alessandria)17, M. Pauschinger (Nürnberg)6, A. Proudfoot (London)18, T. Rassaf (Essen)14, H. Reichenspurner (Hamburg)19, C. M. Sag (Regensburg)11, C. Scherer (München)20, C. Schulze (Jena)21, R. H. G. Schwinger (Weiden i. d. Oberpfalz)22, C. Skurk (Berlin)23, M. Sramko (Prague)24, G. Tavazzi (Pavia)25, H. Thiele (Leipzig)9, N. Morici (Milan)26, E. B. Winzer (Dresden)13, D. Westermann (Freiburg im Breisgau)27, N. Mangner (Dresden)13, B. Schrage (Hamburg)3

1Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf Klinik für Kardiologie Hamburg, Deutschland; 2Universitäres Herz- und Gefäßzentrum Hamburg Allgemeine und Interventionelle Kardiologie Hamburg, Deutschland; 3Universitäres Herz- und Gefäßzentrum Hamburg Klinik für Kardiologie Hamburg, Deutschland; 4Humanitas Research Hospital Cardio Center Milan, Italien; 5AZ Sint-Lucas Department of Cardiology Ghent, Belgien; 6Universitätsklinik der Paracelsus Medizinischen Privatuniversität Klinik für Innere Medizin 8, Schwerpunkt Kardiologie Nürnberg, Deutschland; 7Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein Medizinische Klinik II / Kardiologie, Angiologie, Intensivmedizin Lübeck, Deutschland; 8Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf Klinik für Kardiologie, Pneumologie und Angiologie Düsseldorf, Deutschland; 9Herzzentrum Leipzig - Universität Leipzig Klinik für Innere Medizin/Kardiologie Leipzig, Deutschland; 10Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf Klinik für Intensivmedizin Hamburg, Deutschland; 11Universitätsklinikum Regensburg Klinik und Poliklinik für Innere Med. II, Kardiologie Regensburg, Deutschland; 12Medizinische Universität Graz Graz, Österreich; 13Herzzentrum Dresden GmbH an der TU Dresden Klinik für Innere Medizin, Kardiologie und Intensivmedizin Dresden, Deutschland; 14Universitätsklinikum Essen Klinik für Kardiologie und Angiologie Essen, Deutschland; 15LMU Klinikum der Universität München Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik I München, Deutschland; 16Universitätsklinikum Würzburg Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik I Würzburg, Deutschland; 17AO SS Antonio e Biagio e Cesare Arrigo Dept. Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia and Intensive Care Alessandria, Italien; 18St. Bartholomew's Hospital Department of Perioperative Medicine London, Großbritannien; 19Universitäres Herz- und Gefäßzentrum Hamburg Klinik und Poliklinik für Herz- und Gefäßchirurgie Hamburg, Deutschland; 20Klinikum rechts der Isar der Technischen Universität München München, Deutschland; 21Universitätsklinikum Jena Klinik für Innere Medizin I - Kardiologie Jena, Deutschland; 22Kliniken Nordoberpfalz AG Medizinische Klinik II, Kardiologie Weiden i. d. Oberpfalz, Deutschland; 23Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin CC 11: Med. Klinik für Kardiologie Berlin, Deutschland; 24Institute of Clinical und Experimental Medicine Department of Cardiology Prague, Tschechische Republik; 25Fondazione Policlinico San Matteo Hospital, University of Pavia Department of Clinical-Surgical, Diagnostic and Paediatric Sciences, Anesthesia and Intensive Care Pavia, Italien; 26Fondazione Don Gnocchi IRCCS Santa Maria Nascente Milan, Italien; 27Universitäts-Herzzentrum Freiburg - Bad Krozingen Innere Medizin III, Kardiologie und Angiologie Freiburg im Breisgau, Deutschland


Background: Mortality in cardiogenic shock (CS) remains high even when mechanical circulatory support (MCS) restores adequate circulation. Despite extensive research efforts in recent years, evidence on MCS in this setting is so far neutral. Especially, weaning from MCS is a challenging aspect of daily MCS management and standardized guidance is not yet available.

Purpose: This study aims to investigate incidence and predictors of weaning failure from venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) in patients with CS. 

Methods: Patients with CS treated with VA-ECMO at 23 tertiary-care centres in 7 countries were analysed. Weaning failure was defined as death during VA-ECMO support and death within two days after VA-ECMO explantation. To evaluate whether patient or treatment specific characteristics could serve as predictors for weaning success or failure multivariable logistic regressions models were fitted. 

Results: A total of 685 patients with CS treated with VA-ECMO were included in this study. Median age was 57 (IQR 49-66) years and 542 (79.1%) were male. More than half of the patients presented with CS due to acute myocardial infarction (AMI) (n=438, 63.9%) and prior cardiac arrest (n=431, 62.9%). Median lactate upon admission was 7.6 mmol/l (4.1-12.7). Of these, 410 patients (59.9%) were successfully weaned from VA-ECMO, whereas in 275 patients (40.1%) weaning failed. Of the successfully weaned patients 140 (36.1%) died before hospital discharge. The mortality of the overall cohort was 62.4%. AMI was slightly less common in patients with failed weaning. Age (Odds ratio (OR) 1.04, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.02, 1.06; p<0.001) and cardiac arrest before VA-ECMO implantation (OR 1.68, 95%-CI: 1.09, 2.6; p=0.019) where the only baseline parameters associated with weaning failure. Lactate clearance within 24h after VA-ECMO initiation was associated with successful weaning (OR 0.13, 95%-CI: 0.07, 0.26; p<0.001, Figure 1). 

Conclusion: Despite successful deployment of VA-ECMO, patients with CS are still at a very high mortality risk during VA-ECMO treatment and even after successful weaning. Competing risks (e.g., higher age, prior cardiac arrest) might partially explain this. Importantly, all patients with VA-ECMO have sufficient end-organ and tissue perfusion, but only some show a fast and prognostically favourable lactate clearance. Therefore, efforts should be made to unravel which factors leverage the VA-ECMO provided perfusion into a persistent stabilization and recovery.

Figure 1: Predictors of weaning failure from VA-ECMO support in patients with cardiogenic shock. 

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