Acute Brain Injury in Postcardiotomy Shock Treated With Venoarterial Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation

Christopher Wilcox, Eric Etchill, Katherine Giuliano, Yunis Mayasi, Aaron M. Gusdon, Chun Woo Cho i, Bo Soo Kim, Errol L. Bush, Romergryko G. Geocadin, Glenn J. Whitman, Sung Min Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Acute brain injury (ABI) is common in venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO). One of the most common indications for use of VA-ECMO is postcardiotomy shock (PCS). The authors aimed to characterize the prevalence of ABI and its association with outcomes in this population. Design: prospective observational. Setting: Single-center tertiary care university hospital. Participants: Fifty-two consecutive patients treated for PCS with VA-ECMO from November 2017 to March 2020. Interventions: None. Measurements and Main Results: The median age of patients was 64 (interquartile range 44-84), 62% were male. Of 52 PCS patients treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, 38% (n = 20) experienced acute brain injury. Ischemic stroke was the most common (n = 13, 25%). Patients with central versus peripheral cannulation experienced more ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes (8% v 38%, p = 0.04). Patients with intracardiac thrombus experienced more brain injury (n = 4, 8% p = 0.02). The in-hospital mortality in patients with brain injury was 90% (n = 18/20) compared to 78% (n = 25/32) in patients without brain injury. Conclusions: ABI is common in postcardiotomy VA-ECMO and associated with worse outcome. Patients with central recanalization experienced the majority of acute strokes. Intracardiac thrombus was significantly associated with acute brain injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1989-1996
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of cardiothoracic and vascular anesthesia
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • acute brain injury
  • extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • neurologic complication
  • post-cardiotomy shock

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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