Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) is not intended for everyone. It should not be offered to an adult with absolute contraindications and may be of limited benefit to a patient with relative contraindications.


Absolute contraindications:

(1) coagulopathy that would be uncontrollable if receiving heparin

(2) mechanical ventilation for > 7 days

(3) PaO2 to FIO2 ratio < 100 for > 5 days

(4) 3 or more major organ system failures

(5) pre-existing chronic severe lung disease

(6) terminal illness with short life expectancy

(7) end-stage HIV disease

(8) uncontrolled metabolic acidosis


Relative contraindications:

(1) anti-heparin antibodies (an alternative anticoagulant could be used)

(2) HIV disease

(3) septic shock

(4) severe pulmonary hypertension

(5) immunosuppression

(6) severe CNS disease

(7) severe and irreversible heart disease



• With HAART HIV disease has become more of a chronic disease. People with well-controlled disease may have near-normal survivals.


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