Management of complicated airway foreign body aspiration using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)

Albert H. Park, David E. Tunkel, Erica Park, Douglas Barnhart, Edward Liu, Justin Lee, Richard Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objectives: Successful removal of an airway foreign body can be very challenging. We present three patients with airway foreign body aspiration successfully treated using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Their clinical presentation and findings will be reviewed to determine when ECMO should be considered for treatment. Study design: Retrospective multi-institutional review of a case series of patients with airway foreign body who underwent successful treatment using ECMO. Method: After institutional review board approval, the use of ECMO during airway foreign body procedures in children was reviewed from the pediatric research in otolaryngology (PRO) network. This network comprises of over 20 Children's hospitals to improve the health of and healthcare delivery to children and their families with otolaryngology conditions. Specific parameters were recorded for each patient. Results: Three children presented with airway foreign body and required ECMO for successful removal. Mean age was 18 months. Presenting symptoms included severe and worsening respiratory distress. Indications for ECMO included an inability to perform rigid bronchoscopy due to the child's unstable respiratory status and an airway foreign body lodged in the trachea that could not be removed without potential loss of airway support. All three children underwent successful removal of their airway foreign bodies. There were no complications from ECMO or bronchoscopy. Conclusion: ECMO may be a useful adjunct in cases of life threatening airway foreign body aspiration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2319-2321
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Airway foreign body
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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