Severe acute respiratory distress syndrome secondary to acute pancreatitis successfully treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in three patients

G. J. Peek, S. White, A. D.N. Scott, A. W. Hall, H. M. Moore, A. W. Sosnowski, R. K. Firmin

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15 Scopus citations


Objective: To review three patients who underwent extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for acute respiratory failure secondary to pancreatitis. Summary Background Data: Severe acute pancreatitis often causes the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and if ventilation is required, the mortality rate is more than 50%. If the ratio of PaO2/FiO2 falls below 100 mm Hg or the Murray lung injury score exceeds 3.5, the mortality rate rises to more than 80%. Three patients who have severe ARDS secondary to pancreatitis, who were hypoxic despite ventilation with 100% oxygen and high airway pressures, and who were all successfully treated with ECMO are reported here. The consensus here is that all three patients would have died without ECMO. Methods: Retrospective chart review and discussion of the literature. Results: Pre-ECMO data: mean PaO2/FiO2 59.3 mm Hg, mean Murray lung injury score 3.7, one patient administered 20 ppm inhaled nitric oxide. ECMO data: mean extracorporeal flow at initiation of ECMO 56.3 mL/kg per minute, all patients administered veno-venous ECMO, mean duration of ECMO 104.7 hours. All patients were successfully weaned from ECMO and extubated. One patient had a protracted hospital stay because of a colo-cutaneous fistula. All patients are long-term survivors. Conclusions: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation proved an effective therapy for severe ARDS complicating acute pancreatitis. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation was conducted without bleeding complications in these three patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)572-574
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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