Extracorporeal life support for the treatment of viral pneumonia: Collective experience from the ELSO registry

Tory A. Meyer, Brad W. Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


Viral pneumonia is the most common indication for pediatric extracorporeal life support (ECLS). Despite this fact, no previous studies have directly stratified patient outcome according to viral etiology. Methods: Using the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) registry database, the authors reviewed the national experience of patients undergoing ECLS with culture or serologically demonstrated viral pneumonia and compared outcome parameters according to viral etiology. Results: Patients differed with respect to age and weight according to the viral type. Patients with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV, median age 3 months), herpes simplex virus (HSV, 0.13 months), cytomegalovirus (CMV, 2.5 months), and adenovirus (0.6 months) were younger than those with other viruses (5.5 months). The patient groups did not significantly differ with respect to pre-ECLS PaO2 mean airway pressure (MAP), oxygenation index (OI), mode, or duration of ECLS. The overall survival of patients with viral pneumonia was 57%, although patients with RSV or CMV were found to have a 67% survival. Patients infected with HSV and adenovirus had a significantly lower survival rate (31% and 25%, respectively) when compared with those with RSV. In addition RSV pneumonia was associated with fewer cardiovascular complications than several of the other viral types. When comparison was made between survivors and nonsurvivors, a higher last pre-ECLS MAP and increased incidence of elevated creatinine and renal failure requiring dialysis were noted among nonsurvivors. Conclusion: ECLS remains an important modality in the treatment of neonatal and pediatric patients with respiratory failure secondary to viral pneumonia. The survival rate of these patients varies according to the type of viral infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-236
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • ECMO
  • ELSO
  • Viral pneumonia
  • adenovirus
  • cytomegalovirus
  • extracorporeal life support
  • herpes simplex virus
  • respiratory syncytial virus

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