The presence of pulmonary sequelae has been demonstrated in the survivors of RDS and meconium aspiration syndrome. Lung injury during the newborn period from supplemental oxygen or assisted mechanical ventilation or both also are believed to cause chronic lung disease.- Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation often is used as life-saving therapy for neonates with reversible respiratory failure and a high mortality risk with conventional management; EC MO consists of prolonged cardiopulmonary bypass while resting the lungs and using minimal ventilator settings. It is hypothesized that this promotes lung healing and prevents further injury from high oxygen concentration and barotrauma.
Bartlett et al have speculated that the incidence of chronic lung disease would be decreased in infants treated with ECMO and lung rest. Towne et al reported an absence of chronic lung disease in 18 of 24 ECMO survivors. However, we have observed a number of ECMO survivors with clinically significant chronic lung disease. Because this observation is different from the aforementioned reports, we performed this study to determine the pulmonary sequelae in infants six months following ECMO treatment for severe neonatal respiratory failure.
We hypothesized that neonates treated with ECMO and lung rest for severe respiratory failure would demonstrate evidence of pulmonary sequelae.