Aims: Veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) support stabilizes patients with cardiogenic shock. Despite improved oxygenation and peripheral circulation, LV unloading may be impeded due to the increased afterload, resulting in a failing static left ventricle and in high mortality. Methods and results: We describe for the first time a large series of patients treated with the combination of VA-ECMO and ImpellaÂ® compared with patients with VA-ECMO only. We retrospectively collected data on patients from two tertiary critical care referral centres. We enrolled 157 patients treated with VA-ECMO from January 2013 to April 2015: 123 received VA-ECMO support and 34 had concomitant treatment with VA-ECMO and Impella. A propensity-matching analysis was performed in a 2:1 ratio, resulting in 42 patients undergoing VA-ECMO alone (control group) compared with 21 patients treated with VA-ECMO and Impella. Patients in the VA-ECMO and Impella group had a significantly lower hospital mortality (47% vs. 80%, P < 0.001) and a higher rate of successful bridging to either recovery or further therapy (68% vs. 28%, P < 0.001) compared with VA-ECMO patients. A higher need for continuous veno-venous haemofiltration (48% vs. 19%, P = 0.02) and increased haemolysis (76% vs. 33%, P = 0.004) were reported in the study group due to higher survival. There was no difference in major bleeding rates between the two groups (VA-ECMO and Impella 38% vs. VA-ECMO 29%, P = 0.6). Conclusions: Concomitant treatment with VA-ECMO and Impella may improve outcome in patients with cardiogenic shock compared with VA-ECMO only. Nevertheless, randomized studies are needed to validate these promising results further.
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