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Long-term survival and costs following extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in critically ill children—a population-based cohort study

Fernando SM, Qureshi D, Tanuseputro P, Dhanani S, Guerguerian AM, Shemie SD, Talarico R, Fan E, Munshi L, Rochwerg B, Scales DC, Brodie D, Thavorn K, Kyeremanteng K. Crit Care. 2020; 24(1):131. Epub 2020 Apr 6. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13054-020-02844-3


Background — Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is used to provide temporary cardiorespiratory support to critically ill children. While short-term outcomes and costs have been evaluated in this population, less is known regarding long-term survival and costs.

Methods — Population-based cohort study from Ontario, Canada (October 1, 2009 to March 31, 2017), of pediatric patients (< 18 years of age) receiving ECMO, identified through the use of an ECMO procedural code. Outcomes were identified through linkage to provincial health databases. Primary outcome was survival, measured to hospital discharge, as well as at 1 year, 2 years, and 5 years following ECMO initiation. We evaluated total patient costs in the first year following ECMO.

Results — We analyzed 342 pediatric patients. Mean age at ECMO initiation was 2.9 years (standard deviation [SD] = 5.0). Median time from hospital admission to ECMO initiation was 5 days (interquartile range [IQR] = 1–13 days). Overall survival to hospital discharge was 56.4%. Survival at 1 year, 2 years, and 5 years was 51.5%, 50.0%, and 42.1%, respectively. Among survivors, 99.5% were discharged home. Median total costs among all patients in the year following hospital admission were $147,957 (IQR $70,571–$300,295). Of these costs, the large proportion were attributable to the inpatient cost from the index admission (median $119,197, IQR $57,839–$250,675).

Conclusions — Children requiring ECMO continue to have a significant in-hospital mortality, but reassuringly, there is little decrease in long-term survival at 1 year. Median costs among all patients were substantial, but largely reflect inpatient hospital costs, rather than post-discharge outpatient costs. This information provides value to providers and health systems, allowing for prognostication of short- and long-term outcomes, as well as long-term healthcare-related expenses for pediatric ECMO survivors.

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