J Extra Corpor Technol
Volume 53, Number 4, December 2021
|Page(s)||293 - 298|
|Published online||15 December 2021|
The Use of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation in COVID-19 Patients with Severe Cardiorespiratory Failure: The Influence of Obesity on Outcomes
* SpecialtyCare, Indiana, Nashville, Tennessee;
† Department of Surgery, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
Address correspondence to: Linda B. Mongero, BS, CCP, emeritus,
Vice President, ECLS/ECMO, SpecialtyCare, Inc., 3100 West End Avenue, Nashville,
TN 37203. E-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 16 September 2021
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in the management of severely ill patients with COVID-19 has been reported in more than 5,827 cases worldwide according to the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO). Several pre-existing conditions have been linked to an increase in COVID-19 mortality risk including obesity. The purpose of this research is to review the clinical experience from a cohort of 342 COVID-19 patients treated with ECMO in which 61.7% (211/342) are confirmed obese. Following institutional review board approval, we reviewed all 342 COVID-19 patients supported with ECMO between March 17, 2020 and March 18, 2021, at 40 American institutions from a multi-institutional database. Descriptive statistics comparing survivors to non-survivors were calculated using chi-square, Welch’s ANOVA, and Kruskal-Wallis rank sum test as appropriate. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate the effect of body mass index (BMI) on the odds of survival while adjusting for age, gender, chronic renal failure, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and pre-ECMO P/F ratio. Descriptive analysis showed that obese patients were more likely to be hypertensive (58.1% vs. 32%, p < .001), diabetic (42% vs. 30%, p < .05), and female (35% vs. 21%, p < .05), and had longer median days from intubation to cannulation (4.0 vs. 2.0, p < .05). Obese patients appeared to also have a slightly lower median age (47.9 vs. 50.5, p = .07), higher incidence of asthma (17.8% vs. 10.2%, p = .09), and a slightly lower pre-ECMO PaO2/FiO2 ratio (67.5 vs. 77.5, p = .08) though these differences were slightly less statistically reliable. Results from the logistic regression model suggest no statistically reliable association between BMI and odds of survival. Age had a moderately large and statistically reliable negative association with survival; the relative odds of survival for a 59-year-old patient were approximately half those of a 41-year-old patient (OR = .53, 95% CI: .36–.77, p < .001). Obesity does not seem to be a major risk factor for poor outcomes in COVID-19 patients supported with ECMO; however, age was moderately negatively associated with survival. The potential influence of other comorbidities on odds of survival among these patients warrant further investigation.
Key words: obesity / ARDS / acute kidney injury / ECMO / COVID-19.
© 2021 AMSECT
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