Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in severe influenza infection with respiratory failure: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Shashvat Sukhal, Jaskaran Sethi, Malini Ganesh, Pedro Villablanca, Anita Malhotra, Harish Ramakrishna

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Introduction: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has been extensively used for potentially reversible acute respiratory failure associated with severe influenza A (H1N1) pneumonia; however, it remains an expensive, resource-intensive therapy, with a high associated mortality. This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to summarize and pool outcomes data available in the published literature to guide clinical decision-making and further research. Methods: We conducted a systematic search of MEDLINE (1966 to April 15, 2015), EMBASE (1980 to April 15, 2015), CENTRAL, and Google Scholar for patients with severe H1N1 pneumonia and respiratory failure who received ECMO. The study validity was appraised by Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality. The secondary outcomes were duration of ECMO therapy, mechanical ventilation, and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) length of stay. Results: Of 698 abstracts screened and 142 full-text articles reviewed, we included 13 studies with a total of 494 patients receiving ECMO in our final review and meta-analysis. The study validity was satisfactory. The overall mortality was 37.1% (95% confidence interval: 30-45%) limited by underlying heterogeneity (I2 = 65%, P value of Q statistic = 0.006). The median duration for ECMO was 10 days, mechanical ventilation was 19 days, and ICU length of stay was 33 days. Exploratory meta-regression did not identify any statistically significant moderator of mortality (P < 0.05), except for the duration of pre-ECMO mechanical ventilation in days (coefficient 0.19, standard error: 0.09, Z = 2.01, P < 0.04, R2 = 0.16). The visual inspection of funnel plots did not suggest the presence of publication bias. Conclusions: ECMO therapy may be used as an adjunct or salvage therapy for severe H1N1 pneumonia with respiratory failure. It is associated with a prolonged duration of ventilator support, ICU length of stay, and high mortality. Initiating ECMO early once the patient has been instituted on mechanical ventilation may result in improved survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-21
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of cardiac anaesthesia
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • influenza A pneumonia
  • meta-analysis
  • outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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