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Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine (IBME)

New Publication: «indications and contraindications for extracorporeal life support for severe heart or lung failure: a systematic review»

G. Brandi, Daniel Drewniak, P. Buehler, Ana Rosca, P. Steiger and Tanja Krones published «indications and contraindications
for extracorporeal life support for severe heart or lung failure: a systematic review» in Minerva Anestesiologica


INTRODUCTION: The effectiveness of extracorporeal life support (ECLS) in critically ill patients remains unclear despite a substantial increase in its use. This study critically assesses existing ECLS guidelines, consensus statements, and position papers to systematically review them for agreements and differences regarding indications and contraindications for ECLS.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: The aims of this review were to identify available indications and contraindications for ECLS and to evaluate the quality of the evidence on which they are based. Documents containing recommendations regarding indications and/or contraindications for ECLS in adults (aged 18+) were identified through Medline, EMBASE, and CENTRAL searches. Additional documents were identified from guideline-specific databases and the internet websites of professional societies. Based on the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE II), four independent reviewers assessed the rigor of development and quality of the documents.
EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Eleven documents met the inclusion criteria. Three documents received an average score of ≥50% in all domains. However, the Editorial independence domain only scored <50% in most of the documents. Overall, 13 cardiac and 13 pulmonary ECLS indications, and 23 cardiac and 14 pulmonary contraindications were identified. Indications and contraindications for ECLS use are variable across the documents included and leave considerable room for interpretation.
CONCLUSIONS: The documents included for review show considerable variability, with little consensus on indications and contraindications. This lack of consensus may reflect a lack of clarity regarding ECLS utility. Additionally, it may reveal the necessity for individualized, patient-dependent criteria supported by the best evidence available.