Children receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation are prone to delirium. This case report describes the nursing care of a child with delirium who received venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Relevant interventions and precautions are also discussed.

Clinical Findings

A 6-year-old girl was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit with a 2-day history of vomiting and fever. The child underwent cannulation for venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.


The child was diagnosed with acute fulminant myocarditis, cardiac shock, and ventricular arrhythmia.


On the third day of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, bedside nurses began using the Cornell Assessment of Pediatric Delirium to assess the child for delirium symptoms. The team of physicians and nurses incorporated a nonpharmacologic delirium management bundle into pediatric daily care. Delirium screening, analgesia and sedation management, sleep promotion, and family participation were implemented.


During the 18 days of pediatric intensive care unit hospitalization, the child had 6 days of delirium: 1.5 days of hypoactive delirium, 1.5 days of hyperactive delirium, and 3 days of mixed delirium. The child was successfully discharged home on hospital day 22.


Caring for a child with delirium receiving venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation required multidimensional nursing capabilities to prevent and reduce delirium while ensuring safe extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. This report may assist critical care nurses caring for children under similar circumstances.

You do not currently have access to this content.