Anticoagulation monitoring during pediatric extracorporeal membrane oxygenation

Melania M. Bembea, Jamie M. Schwartz, Nilay Shah, Elizabeth Colantuoni, Christoph U. Lehmann, Thomas Kickler, Peter Pronovost, John J. Strouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


The best method of monitoring anticoagulation during extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is unknown. We conducted a prospective observational study in a tertiary pediatric intensive care unit. Antifactor Xa, antithrombin (AT), and factor VIII activity (FVIII) were measured in blood samples collected at 6, 12, and every 24 hours, respectively, of ECMO. We enrolled 34 children who underwent 35 ECMO runs from April 2008 to September 2010. Activated clotting time (ACT) and heparin doses were higher, whereas antifactor Xa levels were lower in neonates compared to infants/children. Median antifactor Xa was 0.4 IU/ml, median AT was 60%, and median FVIII was 67%. Heparin infusion rate, antifactor Xa, and antithrombin (AT) increased, FVIII was stable, and ACT decreased with each day on ECMO. ACT had poor agreement with antifactor Xa (42%). AT was inversely correlated with ACT (r = -0.33), even after adjusting for heparin dose, and positively correlated with antifactor Xa (r = 0.57). This study emphasizes the age differences as well as the variability over days of coagulation monitoring assays during ECMO. ACT is poorly correlated with antifactor Xa and AT modifies the relationship between ACT and the heparin dose, indicating that results should be interpreted with caution when managing anticoagulation on ECMO. Additional studies are warranted to determine optimal ECMO anticoagulation monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-68
Number of pages6
JournalASAIO Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • ECMO
  • anticoagulation
  • antithrombin
  • extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • heparin assay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Anticoagulation monitoring during pediatric extracorporeal membrane oxygenation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this