• 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.