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Ischemic Colitis in a Patient on Venovenous Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (VV-ECMO) Treatment: An Emerging Complication?

Hammad Liaquat, Thomas B. Zanders, Livia E. Bratis, Lisa M. Stoll, Kimberly J. Chaput

(Department of Gastroenterology, St Luke’s University Health Network, Bethlehem, PA, USA)

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e923374

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.923374

BACKGROUND: There have been few reports of colonic ischemia in patients receiving venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV-ECMO) treatment, and all patients died during the same hospitalization.
CASE REPORT: A 48-year-old man was admitted with acute respiratory failure secondary to multifocal pneumonia and required VV-ECMO treatment. He developed abdominal distention and colon dilatation and was subsequently found to have ischemic colitis. He was able to recover from critical illness and ischemic colitis with supportive treatment including colonic decompression.
CONCLUSIONS: Ischemic colitis is associated with mortality in patients receiving ECMO treatment. The understanding of the pathophysiology is still evolving and requires further research to improve patient outcomes.

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