Neurological monitoring in ECMO patients: current state of practice, challenges and lessons

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Acta neurologica Belgica


BACKGROUND: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in critically ill patients serves as a management option for end-stage cardiorespiratory failure in medical and surgical conditions. Patients on ECMO are at a high risk of neurologic adverse events including intracranial hemorrhage (ICH), acute ischemic stroke (AIS), seizures, diffuse cerebral edema, and hypoxic brain injury. Standard approaches to neurological monitoring for patients receiving ECMO support can be challenging for multiple reasons, including the severity of critical illness, deep sedation, and/or paralysis. This narrative literature review provides an overview of the current landscape for neurological monitoring in this population.

METHODS: A literature search using PubMed was used to aid the understanding of the landscape of published literature in the area of neurological monitoring in ECMO patients.

RESULTS: Review articles, cohort studies, case series, and individual reports were identified. A total of 73 varied manuscripts were summarized and included in this review which presents the challenges and strategies for performing neurological monitoring in this population.

CONCLUSION: Neurological monitoring in ECMO is an area of interest to many clinicians, however, the literature is limited, heterogenous, and lacks consensus on the best monitoring practices. The evidence for optimal neurological monitoring that could impact clinical decisions and functional outcomes is lacking. Additional studies are needed to identify effective measures of neurological monitoring while on ECMO.

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ePub ahead of print

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