Article Abstract

Ventilator-associated pneumonia in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation-assisted patients

Authors: Guillaume Franchineau, Charles Edouard Luyt, Alain Combes, Matthieu Schmidt


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) provides a circulatory and/or respiratory assistance in case of refractory cardiogenic shock or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Due to their extreme critical illness, these patients usually require prolonged mechanical ventilation, which is an inherent risk of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). Although microorganisms responsible of VAP on ECMO are similar to those found in non-ECMO patients, classical suspicion criteria of VAP are no longer relevant on ECMO. Frequent severe chest X-Ray impairments, and poor specificity of the classical biomarkers on ECMO make VAP diagnosis challenging. In addition, significant drug pharmacokinetic modifications by the device may lead to low plasmatic antibiotic concentration and potential treatment failure. Consequently, rate of treatment failure and relapse appear high in that population (up to 30%), with significant impact on mortality and on the ECMO duration.