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Mortality and costs following extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in critically ill adults: a population-based cohort study

Fernando SM, Qureshi D, Tanuseputro P, Fan E, Munshi L, Rochwerg B, Talarico R, Scales DC, Brodie D, Dhanani S, Guerguerian A, Shemie SD, Thavorn K, Kyeremanteng K. Intensive Care Med. 2019; Sep 16 [Epub ahead of print]. DOI: 10.1007/s00134-019-05766-z.


Purpose — Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is used as temporary cardiorespiratory support in critically ill patients. Little is known about population-level short- and long-term outcomes following ECMO, including healthcare use and health system cost across a wide range of sectors.

Methods — Population-based cohort study in Ontario, Canada (October 1, 2009–March 31, 2017) of adult patients (≥ 18 years) receiving ECMO for cardiorespiratory support. We captured outcomes through linkage to health administrative databases. Primary outcome was mortality during hospitalization, as well as at 7 days, 30 days, 1 year, 2 years, and 5 years following ECMO initiation. We analyzed health system costs (in Canadian dollars) in the 1 year following the date of the index admission.

Results — A total of 692 patients were included. Mean (standard deviation [SD]) age was 51.3 (16.0) years. Median (interquartile range [IQR]) time to ECMO initiation from date of admission was 2 (0–9) days. In-hospital mortality was 40.0%. Mortality at 1 year, 2 years, and 5 years was 45.1%, 49.0%, and 57.4%, respectively. Among survivors, 78.4% were discharged home, while 21.2% were discharged to continuing care. Median (IQR) total costs in the 1 year following admission among all patients were Canadian $130,157 (Canadian $58,645–Canadian $240,763), of which Canadian $91,192 (Canadian $38,507–Canadian $184,728) were attributed to inpatient care.

Conclusions — Hospital mortality among critically ill adults receiving ECMO for advanced cardiopulmonary support is relatively high, but does not markedly increase in the years following discharge. Survivors are more likely to be discharged home than to continuing care. Median costs are high, but largely reflect inpatient hospital costs, and not costs incurred following discharge.

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