International Perfusion Association


Protocol for Venoarterial Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation to Reduce Morbidity and Mortality Following Bilateral Lung Transplantation: The ECMOToP Randomised Controlled Trial

Introduction: Lung transplantation (LTx) aims at improving survival and quality of life for patients with end-stage lung diseases. Venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) is used as intraoperative support for LTx, despite no precise guidelines for its initiation. We aim to evaluate two strategies of VA-ECMO initiation in the perioperative period in patients with obstructive or restrictive lung disease requiring bilateral LTx. In the control ‘on-demand’ arm, high haemodynamic and respiratory needs will dictate VA-ECMO initiation; in the experimental ‘systematic’ arm, VA-ECMO will be pre-emptively initiated. We hypothesise a ‘systematic’ strategy will increase the number of ventilatory-free days at day 28.

Methods and analysis: We designed a multicentre randomised controlled trial in parallel groups. Adult patients with obstructive or restrictive lung disease requiring bilateral LTx, without a formal indication for pre-emptive VA-ECMO before LTx, will be included. Patients with preoperative pulmonary hypertension with haemodynamic collapse, ECMO as a bridge to transplantation, severe hypoxaemia or hypercarbia will be secondarily excluded. In the systematic group, VA-ECMO will be systematically implanted before the first pulmonary artery cross-clamp. In the on-demand group, VA-ECMO will be implanted intraoperatively if haemodynamic or respiratory indices meet preplanned criteria. Non-inclusion, secondary exclusion and VA-ECMO initiation criteria were validated by a Delphi process among investigators. Postoperative weaning of ECMO and mechanical ventilation will be managed according to best practice guidelines. The number of ventilator-free days at 28 days (primary endpoint) will be compared between the two groups in the intention-to-treat population. Secondary endpoints encompass organ failure occurrence, day 28, day 90 and year 1 vital status, and adverse events.

Ethics and dissemination: The sponsor is the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris. The ECMOToP protocol version 2.1 was approved by Comité de Protection des Personnes Ile de France VIII. Results will be published in international peer-reviewed medical journals.

Trial registration number: NCT05664204.

Keywords: Adult anaesthesia; Randomized Controlled Trial; Thoracic surgery; Transplant surgery.

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