Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in obstetric patients: An Israeli nationwide study

Dana Yahav-Shafir, Eduard Ilgiyaev, Ori Galante, Dan Gorfil, Liran Statlender, Arie Soroksky, Uri Carmi, Yitzhak Brzezinski Sinai, Nisim Iprach, Yael Haviv-Yadid, Maged Makhoul, Elena Fatnic, Yehuda Ginosar, Sharon Einav, Yigal Helviz, Daniel Fink, Leonid Sternik, Alexander Kogan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The leading causes of maternal mortality include respiratory failure, cardiovascular events, infections, and hemorrhages. The use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) as rescue therapy in the peripartum period for cardiopulmonary failure is expanding in critical care medicine. Methods: This retrospective observational study was conducted on a nationwide cohort in Israel. During the 3-year period, between September 1, 2019, and August 31, 2022, all women in the peripartum period who had been supported by ECMO for respiratory or circulatory failure at 10 large Israeli hospitals were identified. Indications for ECMO, maternal and neonatal outcomes, details of ECMO support, and complications were collected. Results: During the 3-year study period, in Israel, there were 540 234 live births, and 28 obstetric patients were supported by ECMO, with an incidence of 5.2 cases per 100 000 or 1 case per 19 000 births (when excluding patients with COVID-19, the incidence will be 2.5 cases per 100 000 births). Of these, 25 were during the postpartum period, of which 16 (64%) were connected in the PPD1, and 3 were during pregnancy. Eighteen patients (64.3%) were supported by V-V ECMO, 9 (32.1%) by V-A ECMO, and one (3.6%) by a VV-A configuration. Hypoxic respiratory failure (ARDS) was the most common indication for ECMO, observed in 21 patients (75%). COVID-19 was the cause of ARDS in 15 (53.7%) patients. The indications for the V-A configuration were cardiomyopathy (3 patients), amniotic fluid embolism (2 patients), sepsis, and pulmonary hypertension. The maternal and fetal survival rates were 89.3% (n = 25) and 100% (n = 28). The average ECMO duration was 17.6 ± 18.6 days and the ICU stay was 29.8 ± 23.8 days. Major bleeding complications requiring surgical intervention were observed in one patient. Conclusions: The incidence of using ECMO in the peripartum period is low. The maternal and neonatal survival rates in patients treated with ECMO are high. These results show that ECMO remains an important treatment option for obstetric patients with respiratory and/or cardiopulmonary failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-401
Number of pages10
JournalArtificial Organs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2024


  • ECMO
  • nationwide study
  • peripartum complications


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