Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation as a Bridge to Initial Medical Therapy in a Patient With Decompensated Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Presenting With Biventricular Failure

Donovan Mabe, Oksana A. Shlobin, Linda Bogar, Steven D. Nathan, A. Whitney Brown, Kareem Ahmad, Shambhu Aryal, Charles Murphy, Christopher S. King


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) can be used as a bridge to medical therapy in decompensated right heart failure due to pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). A middle-aged man with previously undiagnosed pulmonary hypertension was successfully bridged to intravenous prostanoid therapy with venoarterial ECMO support after presenting with cardiogenic shock and hypoxemic respiratory failure. Although the patient initially had biventricular failure, PAH was suspected due to underlying mixed connective tissue disease and disproportionate right ventricular dysfunction. On occasion, patients with PAH may present with biventricular failure. A high index of suspicion for PAH and serial reassessment of left ventricular function following correction of shock may demonstrate improvement in left ventricular function, allowing for initiation of pulmonary vasodilator therapy.

J Med Cases. 2019;10(9):260-263
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jmc3327


ECMO; Venoarterial ECMO; Pulmonary arterial hypertension; Prostanoids

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