A 32-year-old motorcyclist who was hit by a tram subsequently presented with blunt force thoracic trauma, a pelvic fracture and a penetrating injury to the left lower extremity. Coagulopathy persisted following surgery of the leg and pelvic vascular intervention. Bedside thoracotomy was performed to treat pneumothorax and pneumopericardium. Severe hypoxemia secondary to lung failure ensued, which required venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV ECMO) support. On the third day after the trauma, ultra-protective mechanical ventilation was not possible due to non-existent lung compliance; thus, the ventilator was disconnected, and the T-piece was connected to the blocked tracheal tube left in the airway. Gas exchange occurred via VV ECMO separately. After 48 h of cessation of ventilator support, the patient was weaned from sedation. At this time, respiratory effort was observed, and assisted ventilation was initiated. The patient ultimately recovered and experienced an excellent outcome. The clinical significance of zero end-expiratory pressure (ZEEP) and the complete cessation of open lung strategy during ECMO remains controversial. In cases of reduced lung compliance, if VV ECMO can facilitate adequate gas exchange, the discontinuation of ventilation is an option that can be used to prevent ventilator-induced lung damage and to allow the lungs to rest. VV ECMO is feasible as lung support with no mechanical ventilation in case of severe lung failure after major trauma.
Journal of Artificial Organs – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 1, 2017
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