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Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has been widely used in the care of patients with respiratory failure from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We characterized bloodstream infections (BSIs) and ventilator-associated pneumonias (VAPs) in COVID-19 patients supported with ECMO, and we investigated their impact on patient outcomes.
Retrospective cohort study from March 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021.
Academic tertiary-care referral center.
Consecutive adult patients admitted for COVID-19 who received ECMO.
We identified BSIs and VAPs and described their epidemiology and microbiology. Cumulative antimicrobial use and the specific management of BSIs were determined. Multivariate time-dependent Cox proportional hazards models were constructed to evaluate the impact of BSIs and VAPs on mortality, controlling for age, receipt of COVID-19–specific therapeutics, and new renal replacement therapy.
We identified 136 patients who received ECMO for COVID-19 pneumonia during the study period. BSIs and VAPs occurred in 81 patients (59.6%) and 93 patients (68.4%), respectively. The incidence of BSIs was 29.5 per 1,000 ECMO days and increased with duration of ECMO cannulation. Enterococci, Enterobacterales, and Staphylococcus aureus were the most common causes of BSIs, whereas S. aureus, Klebsiella species, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa comprised the majority of VAPs. Mean antibiotic use comprised 1,031 days of therapy per 1,000 ECMO days (SD, 496). We did not detect an association between BSIs or VAPs and mortality.
BSIs and VAPs are common in COVID-19 ECMO-supported patients. Efforts to optimize their diagnosis, prevention, and management should be prioritized.
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