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Clinical Significance of Spontaneous Echo Contrast on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation
This single-center study explored the relationship between spontaneous echo contrast (SEC) and the incidence of thromboembolism and CVA in 98 patients undergoing peripheral VA ECMO. Twenty-two percent of patients had SEC while they were on ECMO. Those exhibiting SEC had significantly higher rates of intracardiac thrombus (46% v. 13%, p = 0.002) and CVA (36% v. 7.9%, p = 0.002). The patients who showed SEC had a lower EF and less frequent aortic valve opening.
Comment: Should we be venting the LV more frequently in VA ECMO? If so, how should we vent the LV? Alternatively, should we maintain a baseline level of inotropic support on these patients to discourage stasis in the LV?