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PMCID: PMC4781808 DOI: 10.1007/s13181-015-0486-8


Although there have been many developments related to specific strategies for treating patients after poisoning exposures, the mainstay of therapy remains symptomatic and supportive care. One of the most aggressive supportive modalities is extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Our goal was to describe the use of ECMO for toxicological exposures reported to the American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) Toxicology Investigators Consortium (ToxIC). We performed a retrospective review of the ACMT ToxIC Registry from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2013. Inclusion criteria included patients aged 0 to 89 years, evaluated between January 2010 through December 2013, and received ECMO for toxicological exposure. There were 26,271 exposures (60 % female) reported to the ToxIC Registry, 10 (0.0004 %) received ECMO: 4 pediatric (< 12 years), 2 adolescent (12-18 years), and 4 adults (>18 years). Time of initiation of ECMO ranged from 4 h to 4 days, with duration from 15 h to 12 days. Exposures included carbon monoxide/smoke inhalation (2), bitter almonds, methanol, and several medications including antihistamines (2), antipsychotic/antidepressant (2), cardiovascular drugs (2), analgesics (2), sedative/hypnotics (2), and antidiabetics (2). Four ECMO patients received cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) during their hospital course, and the overall survival rate was 80 %. ECMO was rarely used for poisoning exposures in the ACMT ToxIC Registry. ECMO was utilized for a variety of ages and for pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical exposures. In most cases, ECMO was administered prior to cardiovascular failure, and survival rate was high. If available, ECMO may be a valid treatment modality.

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J Med Toxicol





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MeSH Keywords

Adolescent; Adult; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Child; Child, Preschool; Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation; Female; Humans; Infant; Infant, Newborn; Male; Middle Aged; Poisoning; Registries; Retrospective Studies; Severity of Illness Index; Time Factors; Toxicology; Treatment Outcome; Young Adult


Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation; ECMO; Heart Lung Machine; Poisoning