Concomitant use of VA-ECMO and Impella with inhaled nitric oxide to treat cardiogenic shock after cardiac surgery: A case report


      Venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) is used to treat cardiogenic shock. However, a lack of left ventricle (LV) unloading and increased systemic afterload can cause pulmonary congestion. Impella (Abiomed, Danvers, MA, USA), a catheter-mounted micro-axial rotary pump, unloads the LV and provides hemodynamic support. However, Impella cannot support the right ventricle (RV), and RV dysfunction impedes weaning from VA-ECMO. A 50-year-old man with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction due to myocardial infarction developed moderate aortic stenosis and regurgitation, moderate mitral regurgitation, and tricuspid regurgitation. Aortic valve replacement, mitral valve replacement, and tricuspid valve replacement were performed. VA-ECMO with intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) was initiated as he could not be weaned from cardiopulmonary bypass. The patient could not be weaned from IABP and VA-ECMO; therefore, Impella 5.0 was inserted instead of IABP on day 7. However, Impella 5.0 was ineffective due to RV dysfunction. Increased inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) dose lowered pulmonary vascular resistance, decreased RV afterload, and improved RV distension. He was weaned from VA-ECMO after increasing the flow from the Impella 5.0. Combining VA-ECMO with Impella and iNO improved hemodynamics in a patient with RV dysfunction, and Impella with iNO aided weaning from VA-ECMO.

      Learning objective

      Combining venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) with Impella (Abiomed, Danvers, MA, USA) and inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) can improve hemodynamics in a patient with right ventricular dysfunction, and iNO may aid weaning from VA-ECMO.


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