UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Critical Care

Title: ECMO in HIV/AIDS Patients

Posted: 12/5/2017 by Ashley Menne, MD (Updated: 12/11/2017)
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Severe acute respiratory failure among patients with PCP pneumonia, especially among those newly diagnosed with AIDS, remains a disease of high morbidity and mortality. Among those requiring mechanical ventilator support, the mortality rate has been reported between 50-70%.

According to ELSO guidelines, pharmacologic immunosuppression (specifically neurtrophil <400/mL) is a relative contraindication. Furthermore, a status predicting poor outcome despite ECMO should also be considered a relative contraindication.

That said, there are several case reports now of successful use of ECMO in AIDS patients, particularly those suffering with PCP pneumonia.

In a case report and literature review published in BMJ in Aug 2017, 11 cases of ECMO (including 1 VA) in AIDS patients were described.

  • 7 survived to hospital discharge (including 1 VA)
  • 2 survived to decannulation, but ultimately died in hospital
  • 2 died on ECMO
  • Length of ECMO runs in survivors varied between 4 days (VA) to 31 days

 

Bottom Line: HIV/AIDS is not an absolute contraindication to VV ECMO therapy in ARDS and may be particularly useful in the treatment of severe PCP pneumonia. Initiation of ECMO in this patient population should be considered on an individual case by case basis. 

References

Lee N, Lawrence D, Patel B, Ledot S. HIV-related Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia managed with caspofungin and veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation rescue therapy. 2017. doi:10.1136/bcr-2017-221214.