1. Department of Anesthesiology and Operative Intensive Care Medicine CCM/CVK, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health.
2. ARDS/ECMO Centrum Charité, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
3. Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), Berlin, Germany.
The Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is common in patients on the Intensive Care Unit and associated with significant mortality rates. In situations of severe respiratory insufficiency and failure of all possible conservative therapeutic approaches, veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV ECMO) is used as a final option for temporary replacement of pulmonary function. ARDS as well as sepsis and VV ECMO treatment are all associated with intravascular hemolysis. The extent and relevance of intravascular hemolysis in the context of ARDS therapy is unclear. This systematic review aims to summarize the current evidence on the incidence and associated complications of intravascular hemolysis in adult patients with ARDS and treatment with VV ECMO. The databases MEDLINE, EMBASE and Web of Science were systematically searched and 19 publications fulfilled inclusion criteria. The incidence of hemolysis in patients with ARDS and treatment with VV ECMO ranged from 0 to 41% with survivors showing lower incidences and less severe hemolysis. A pump head thrombosis and high blood flows (≥3 l/min) as well as use of dual-lumen cannulas but not different pump models were associated with increased hemolysis. In conclusion, intravascular hemolysis in patients with ARDS and treatment with VV ECMO is a common and relevant complication that appears associated with increased mortality. Apart from ECMO hardware-settings, no additional possible causes for increased red cell breakdown such as disease severity, duration of ECMO therapy, or number and quality of red blood cell transfusions were investigated. Further research is needed to determine the origin and relevance of intravascular hemolysis in patients with ARDS and treatment with VV ECMO.
Keywords: veno-venous ECMO, ARDS, cell-free hemoglobin, hemolysis, ECMO-system, pump head thrombosis