Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in severe acute respiratory failure in postpartum woman with rheumatic mitral valve disease: benefit, factors furthering the success of this procedure, and review of the literature

G. Fayad, B. Larrue, T. Modine, R. Azzaoui, A. Regnault, M. Koussa, T. Gourlay, F. Fourrier, C. Decoene, H. Warembourg

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    Pregnancy is a common decompensation factor for women with post-rheumatic mitral disease. However, valvular heart diseases causing severe acute respiratory distress are rare. Use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) early in the event of cardiorespiratory failure after cardiac surgery may be of benefit. Indeed, ECMO cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) support could help pulmonary recovery if the mitral pathology is involved. A 31-year-old female patient at 30 weeks of amenorrhea was admitted to the obstetrics department with 40 degrees C hyperthermia and New York Heart Association (NYHA) class 4 dyspnea. The patient's medical history included a post-rheumatic mitral stenosis. Blood gases showed severe hypoxemia associated with hypocapnia. The patient needed to be rapidly intubated and was placed on ventilatory support because of acute respiratory failure. Transesophageal echocardiography showed a severe mitral stenosis, mild mitral insufficiency, and diminished left ventricular function, hypokinetic, dilated right ventricle, and a severe tricuspid regurgitation. An urgent cesarean section was performed. Because of the persistent hemodynamic instability, a mitral valvular replacement and tricuspid valve annuloplasty were performed. In view of the preoperative acute respiratory distress, we decided, at the beginning of the operation, to carry on circulatory support with oxygenation through an ECMO-type CPB at the end of the operation. This decision was totally justified by the unfeasible CPB weaning off. ECMO use led to an efficient hemodynamic state without inotropic drug support. The surgical post-operative course was uneventful. Early use of cardiorespiratory support with veno-arterial ECMO allows pulmonary and right heart recovery after cardiac surgery, thus avoiding the use of inotropic drugs and complex ventilatory support.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)112-116
    Number of pages4
    JournalJournal of Extra-Corporeal Technology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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