International Perfusion Association


Clinician Prediction of Survival vs Calculated Prediction Scores in Patients Requiring Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation

Background: Determining appropriate extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) candidacy ensures appropriate utilization of this costly resource. The current ECMO survival prediction scores do not consider clinician assessment of patient viability. This study compared clinician prediction of survival to hospital discharge versus prediction scores.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to compare clinician prediction of patients’ survival to hospital discharge versus prognostic prediction scores (Respiratory ECMO Survival Prediction [RESP] or Survival After Veno-Arterial ECMO [SAVE] score) to actual survival.

Methods: This was an observational descriptive study from January 2020 to November 2021 conducted with interviews of nurses, perfusionists, and physicians who were involved during the initiation of ECMO within the first 24 hours of cannulation. Data were retrieved from the medical record to determine prediction scores and survival outcomes at hospital discharge. Accuracy of clinician prediction of survival was compared to the RESP or SAVE prediction scores and actual survival to hospital discharge.

Results: Accurate prediction of survival to hospital discharge for veno-venous ECMO by nurses was 47%, 64% by perfusionists, 45% by physicians, and 45% by the RESP score. Accurate predictions of patients on veno-arterial ECMO were correct in 54% of nurses, 77% of physicians, and 14% by the SAVE score. Physicians were more accurate than the SAVE score, P = .021, and perfusionists were significantly more accurate than the RESP score, P = .044. There was no relationship between ECMO specialists’ years of experience and accuracy of predications.

Conclusion: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation clinicians may have better predictions of survival to hospital discharge than the prediction scores. Further research is needed to develop accurate prediction tools to help determine ECMO eligibility.

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