Concerning the treatment itself, I do not have data to say there are any prolonged effects. Survivors have come back to visit the nurses and therapists who were involved in their care; they are functioning normally apart from not remembering much, if anything, of the ECLS period. That “gap in time” can be a special challenge for some individuals, whereas others express gratitude that the team saved their lives. Of course, complications that the patient experiences while supported with ECLS will remain (eg, stroke residual, effects of limb ischemia).

Primary concerns after decannulation include bleeding at the cannulation site, recurrent hypoxia (which may necessitate return to ECLS support), and cardiac compromise (venoarterial ECLS).

Deconditioning is a significant contributor to prolonged hospitalization following ECLS support. If a patient starts therapy already deconditioned, this situation will be even worse. If the cannulation strategy is secure,...

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