Cardiovascular Collapse in COVID-19 Infection: The Role of Venoarterial Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (VA-ECMO).CJC Open. 2020 Jul; 2(4):273-277.CO
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been associated with cardiovascular complications, including acute cardiac injury, heart failure, and cardiogenic shock (CS). The role of venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) in the event of COVID-19-associated cardiovascular collapse has not been established. We reviewed the existing literature surrounding the role of VA-ECMO in the treatment of coronavirus-related cardiovascular collapse. COVID-19 is associated with a higher incidence of cardiovascular complications compared with previous coronavirus outbreaks (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus). We found only 1 case report from China in which COVID-19-associated fulminant myocarditis and CS were successfully rescued using VA-ECMO as a bridge to recovery. We identified potential clinical scenarios (cardiac injury, myocardial infarction with and without obstructive coronary artery disease, viral myocarditis, and decompensated heart failure) leading to CS and risk factors for poor/uncertain benefit (age, sepsis, mixed/predominantly vasodilatory shock, prothrombotic state or coagulopathy, severe acute respiratory distress syndrome, multiorgan failure, or high-risk prognostic scores) specific to using VA-ECMO as a bridge to recovery in COVID-19 infection. Additional considerations and proposed recommendations specific to the COVID-19 pandemic were formulated with guidance from published data and expert consensus. A small subset of patients with cardiovascular complications from COVID-19 infection may progress to refractory CS. While accepting that resource scarcity may be the overwhelming concern for healthcare systems during this pandemic, VA-ECMO can be considered in highly selected cases of refractory CS and echocardiographic evidence of biventricular failure. The decision to initiate this therapy should take into consideration the availability of resources, perceived benefit, and risks of transmitting disease.