New Study Supports the Use of ECMO for Critically Ill Patients with Obesity
A recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has found that the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) does not complicate treatment for critically ill patients with obesity. The study’s findings challenge previous beliefs and suggest that ECMO can be an effective treatment for severe respiratory failure in adults with obesity.
The study reviewed data from 790 patients across 10 countries who received ECMO for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Among these patients, 320 had obesity. Surprisingly, the study found that patients with obesity who received ECMO had lower mortality rates compared to patients without obesity. The data showed that 24% of patients with obesity died in the intensive care unit, while the mortality rate for patients without obesity was 35%.
These findings have significant implications for the treatment of critically ill patients with obesity. The study authors conclude that obesity should not be a determining factor in treatment decisions for ECMO. This is the largest study to date to assess ECMO survival outcomes among adults with obesity and ARDS.
ARDS is responsible for 10% of intensive care unit admissions worldwide, with pneumonia being the most common factor leading to severe respiratory illness. Survivors of ARDS and ECMO have varying outcomes, with survival rates ranging from about half to three-fourths of patients.
The research incorporated data from patients in the United States, France, Australia, and Italy, and relied on the Ventilation Management of Patients with Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (LIFEGARDS) study.
This study opens up new questions about how obesity affects outcomes in critical illness and provides valuable insights for evidence-based treatment approaches. The research was partially supported by the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.
The NHLBI is known for its leadership in conducting and supporting research in heart, lung, and blood diseases, as well as sleep disorders. The NIH, a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, serves as the primary federal agency responsible for conducting and supporting medical research.
Overall, this study contributes to the growing knowledge regarding the use of ECMO in critically ill patients with obesity and emphasizes the need for further research in this area.
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