Outcome of Patients with Interstitial Lung Disease Treated with Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation for Acute Respiratory Failure

Franziska C. Trudzinski, Franziska Kaestner, Hans-Joachim Schäfers, Sebastian Fähndrich, Frederik Seiler, Philip Böhmer, Oliver Linn, Ralf Kaiser, Hendrik Haake, Frank Langer, Robert Bals, Heinrike Wilkens, Philipp M. Lepper
  • American Review of Respiratory Disease, March 2016, American Thoracic Society
  • DOI: 10.1164/rccm.201508-1701oc

ECMO in patients with interstital lung diesease

What is it about?

The management of acute respiratory failure (ARF) in interstitial lung disease (ILD) is difficult. Intubation has been shown to be associated with a mortality rate of up to 90%. In current clinical practice, patients with ARF and ILD are generally not intubated and are given palliative care. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is viewed critically because the technology might not allow for the recovery of cardiopulmonary function.

Why is it important?

ECMO is a lifesaving option for patients with ILD and ARF provided they are suitable candidates for lung transplantation. In these cases, patients can undergo salvage Transplantation regardless of whether they have already been listed before ARF. ECMO is not able to reverse the poor prognosis in patients that do not qualify for lung transplantation.


Dr Philipp M Lepper
University Hospital of Saarland

It is important to know who should be treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and who should not. Data on this issue are sparse, so far. Our study adds information to make the difficult decision whom to treat.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Philipp M Lepper and Franziska Trudzinski