Background: The complexity of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) techniques continues to evolve. Different cannulation methods and configurations have been proposed as a response to a challenging cardiovascular and pulmonary physiology of the patients. The use of parallel ECMO circuits represents a unique and novel approach for patients with refractory respiratory failure and cardiovascular collapse with very large body surface areas. Case presentation: We present the case of a 25-year-old morbidly obese male patient admitted for severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and refractory hypoxemia, requiring institution of double cannulation for veno-venous ECMO. Since his hypoxemia persisted, likely due to insufficient flows given his large body surface area, an additional drainage venous cannula was implemented to provide higher flows, temporarily addressing his oxygenation status. Unfortunately, the patient developed concomitant cardiogenic shock refractory to inotropic support and extracorporeal fluid removal, further worsening his oxygenation status, thus the decision was to institute four-cannulation/parallel-circuits veno-venous and veno-arterial ECMO, successfully controlling both refractory hypoxemia and cardiogenic shock. Conclusions: Our case illustrates a novel and complex approach for combined severe ARDS and cardiovascular collapse through the use of parallel veno-venous and veno-arterial ECMO circuits, and exemplifies the expansion of ECMO techniques and its life-saving capabilities when conservative approaches are futile.
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome
- Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
- Intensive care unit
- Mechanical ventilation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine