Sign up for email alert when new content gets added: Sign up
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in veno-arterial configuration (VA-ECMO) is a method widely used to support circulation during the most severe conditions of heart failure or refractory cardiac arrest. It frequently bridges this otherwise fatal status to recovery, therapeutic intervention or other circulatory support. However, the use of VA-ECMO in critical situations of severely impaired heart function is associated with specific limitations. One common complication is left ventricular overload and distension, primarily due to the increased afterload caused by extracorporeal blood flow. To date, various techniques has been proposed to decrease left ventricular distension and improve its function, including insertion of intra-aortic balloon pump or percutaneous left ventricular assist device, left atrial and left ventricular venting, or switch to surgically inserted left ventricular support with or without oxygenator. The present review summarizes current minimally invasive approaches to unload overloaded left ventricle during VA-ECMO support.