Background: Primary graft dysfunction (PGD) is the leading cause of death in the first 30 days after lung transplantation and is also associated with worse long-term outcomes. Outcomes of patients with PGD grade 3 requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support after lung transplantation have yet to be well described. We sought to describe short- and long-term outcomes for patients with PGD grade 3 who required ECMO support. Methods: This is a single-center retrospective cohort study of patients undergoing lung transplantation. We stratified patients with PGD grade 3 into non-ECMO, venoarterial (VA) ECMO, and venovenous (VV) ECMO groups after transplantation. We then compared the outcomes between the groups. Results: Of 773 lung transplant recipients, PGD grade 3 developed in 204 (26%) at any time in the first 72 hours after lung transplantation. Of these, 13 (5%) required VA ECMO and 25 (10%) required VV ECMO support. The 30-day, 1-year, and 5-year survival in the VA ECMO group was 62%, 54%, and 43% compared with 96%, 84%, and 65% in the VV ECMO group and 99%, 94%, and 71% in the non-ECMO group. Multivariable Cox regression analysis showed that VA ECMO was associated with increased mortality (hazard ratio, 2.37; 95% CI, 1.06-5.28; P = .04). Conclusions: Patients who required VA ECMO support for PGD grade 3 have significantly worse survival compared with those who did not require ECMO and those who required VV ECMO support. This suggests that VA ECMO treatment of patients with PGD grade 3 after lung transplantation can be a predictable risk factor for mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1273-1280
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023


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