International Perfusion Association


Anticoagulation Management in V-V ECMO Patients: A Multidisciplinary Pragmatic Protocol

Background: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a complex procedure affecting both the risk of thrombosis and bleeding. High-quality data to personalize anticoagulation management in ECMO are lacking, resulting in a high variability in practice among centers. For this reason, we review coagulation methods and monitoring and share a pragmatic proposal of coagulation management, as performed in our high-volume ECMO Referral Centre.

Methods: We revised the anticoagulation options and monitoring methods available for coagulation management in ECMO through PubMed search based on words including “anticoagulation,” “coagulation assays,” “ECMO,” “ELSO,” and “ISTH”.

Results: Actual revision of the literature was described as our routine practice regarding ECMO anticoagulation and monitoring.

Conclusions: No coagulation test is exclusively predictive of bleeding or thrombotic risk in patients undergoing ECMO support. An approach that allows for a tailored regimen of anticoagulation (regardless of agent used) and monitoring is mandatory. To accomplish this, we propose that the titration of anticoagulation therapies should include multiple laboratory tests, including anti-Xa, aPTT, ACT, viscoelastic tests, AT levels, platelet count, fibrinogen, and FXIII levels. Anticoagulation regimens should be tailored to a specific patient and personalized based on this complex array of essays.

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