• A dedicated veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation unit during a respiratory pandemic: Lessons learned from covid-19 part I: System planning and care teams

      Dave, Sagar; Shah, Aakash; Galvagno, Samuel; George, Kristen; Menne, Ashley R.; Haase, Daniel J.; McCormick, Brian; Rector, Raymond; Dahi, Siamak; Madathil, Ronson J.; et al. (MDPI AG, 2021-04-02)
      Background: The most critically ill patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may require advanced support modalities, such as veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV-ECMO). A systematic, methodical approach to a respiratory pandemic on a state and institutional level is critical. Methods: We conducted retrospective review of our institutional response to the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the creation of a dedicated airlock biocontainment unit (BCU) to treat patients with refractory COVID-19 acute respiratory distress syndrome (CARDS). Data were collected through conversations with staff on varying levels in the BCU, those leading the effort to make the BCU and hospital incident command system, email communications regarding logistic changes being implemented, and a review of COVID-19 patient census at our institution from March through June 2020. Results: Over 2100 patients were successfully admitted to system hospitals; 29% of these patients required critical care. The response to this respiratory pandemic augmented intensive care physician staffing, created a 70-member nursing team, and increased the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) capability by nearly 200%. During this time period, 40 COVID-19 patients on VV-ECMO were managed in the BCU. Challenges in an airlock unit included communication, scarcity of resources, double-bunking, and maintaining routine care. Conclusions: Preparing for a surge of critically ill patients during a pandemic can be a daunting task. The implementation of a coordinated, system-level approach can help with the allocation of resources as needed. Focusing on established strengths of hospitals within the system can guide triage based on individual patient needs. The management of ECMO patients is still a specialty care, and a systematic and hospital based approach requiring an ECMO team composed of multiple experienced individuals is paramount during a respiratory viral pandemic. © 2021 by the authors.
    • A Dedicated Veno-Venous Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Unit during a Respiratory Pandemic: Lessons Learned from COVID-19 Part II: Clinical Management

      Shah, Aakash; Dave, Sagar; Galvagno, Samuel; George, Kristen; Menne, Ashley R; Haase, Daniel J; McCormick, Brian; Rector, Raymond; Dahi, Siamak; Madathil, Ronson J; et al. (MDPI AG, 2021-04-21)
      (1) Background: COVID-19 acute respiratory distress syndrome (CARDS) has several distinctions from traditional acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS); however, patients with refractory respiratory failure may still benefit from veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV-ECMO) support. We report our challenges caring for CARDS patients on VV-ECMO and alterations to traditional management strategies. (2) Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of our institutional strategies for managing patients with COVID-19 who required VV-ECMO in a dedicated airlock biocontainment unit (BCU), from March to June 2020. The data collected included the time course of admission, VV-ECMO run, ventilator length, hospital length of stay, and major events related to bleeding, such as pneumothorax and tracheostomy. The dispensation of sedation agents and trial therapies were obtained from institutional pharmacy tracking. A descriptive statistical analysis was performed. (3) Results: Forty COVID-19 patients on VV-ECMO were managed in the BCU during this period, from which 21 survived to discharge and 19 died. The criteria for ECMO initiation was altered for age, body mass index, and neurologic status/cardiac arrest. All cannulations were performed with a bedside ultrasound-guided percutaneous technique. Ventilator and ECMO management were routed in an ultra-lung protective approach, though varied based on clinical setting and provider experience. There was a high incidence of pneumothorax (n = 19). Thirty patients had bedside percutaneous tracheostomy, with more procedural-related bleeding complications than expected. A higher use of sedation was noted. The timing of decannulation was also altered, given the system constraints. A variety of trial therapies were utilized, and their effectiveness is yet to be determined. (4) Conclusions: Even in a high-volume ECMO center, there are challenges in caring for an expanded capacity of patients during a viral respiratory pandemic. Though institutional resources and expertise may vary, it is paramount to proceed with insightful planning, the recognition of challenges, and the dynamic application of lessons learned when facing a surge of critically ill patients.