PURPOSE - Neonates placed on veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) undergo either carotid repair or ligation at decannulation. Study aims were to evaluate carotid patency rates after repair and to compare early neurologic outcomes between repaired and ligated patients.
METHODS - A retrospective study of all neonates without congenital heart disease (CHD) who had VA-ECMO between 1989 and 2012 was completed using our institutional ECMO Registry. Carotid patency after repair, neuroimaging studies, and auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing at time of discharge were examined.
RESULTS - 140 neonates were placed on VA-ECMO during the study period. Among survivors, 84% of carotids repaired and imaged remained patent at last study. No significant differences were observed between infants in the repaired and ligated groups regarding diagnosis, ECMO duration, or length of stay. A large proportion (43%) developed a severe brain lesion after VA-ECMO, but few failed their ABR testing. Differences in early neurologic outcomes between the two groups of survivors were not significant.
CONCLUSIONS - At this single institution, carotid patency is excellent following repair at ECMO decannulation. No increased incidence of severe brain lesions or greater neurosensory impairment in the repair group was observed. Further studies are needed to investigate the effects of ligation on longer-term neurocognitive outcomes.
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