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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation improves coagulopathy in an experimental traumatic hemorrhagic model

Larsson, M.; Forsman, P.; Hedenqvist, P.; Ostlund, A.; Hultman, J.; Wikman, A.; Riddez, L.; Frenckner, B.; Bottai, M.; Wahlgren, C. -M.


Hemorrhage is the most common cause of preventable death after trauma. Coagulopathy plays a central role in uncontrolled bleeding and is caused by multiple factors. Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) is an established treatment for patients with respiratory failure and has in recent years also been used in severely injured trauma patients with cardiopulmonary failure and coexisting bleeding shock. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of ECMO on hypothermia, acidosis, and coagulopathy in a traumatic hemorrhagic rabbit model.After anesthesia and tracheostomy, ten New Zealand White rabbits sustained laparotomy, bilateral femur fractures and were hemorrhaged 45% of their estimated blood volume. After 90 min of hemorrhagic shock they were resuscitated with a standard transfusion protocol together with venoarterial ECMO (n = 5) or with a standard transfusion protocol only (n = 5) for 60 min. No systemic heparin was administered.ECMO during 60 min of resuscitation significantly increased heart rate (p = 0.01), mean arterial pressure (p = 0.01), body temperature (p = 0.01) and improved the metabolic acidosis, pH (p = 0.01), and lactate (p = 0.01). ECMO also improved the coagulation capacity measured in vitro by Rotational Thromboelastometry with a significant decrease in clot formation time (p < 0.01). This finding was confirmed in vivo with a significant reduction in the animals' ear bleeding time (p < 0.01) and cuticle bleeding time (p < 0.01); 5/5 animals survived in the ECMO group and 3/5 animals survived in the control group.Heparin-free ECMO stabilizes circulation, improves coagulation, and may impact short-time survival, during the first 60 min, in an experimental traumatic model with severe hemorrhagic shock.


Trauma; Shock; Coagulopathy; Animal model; Extracorporeal circulation; ECMO; Hemorrhage; Resuscitation

Published in

European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
2017, Volume: 43, number: 5, pages: 701-709

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Anesthesiology and Intensive Care

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