NYMC Faculty Publications

Veno-Arterial Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Rescue in a Patient With Pulmonary Hypertension Presenting for Revision Total Hip Arthroplasty: A Case Report and Narrative Review

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Faculty, Resident/Fellow

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Orthopedic Surgery

Second Department



Patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH) are at an increased risk of perioperative morbidity and mortality when undergoing non-cardiac surgery. We present a case of a 57-year-old patient with severe PH, who developed cardiac arrest as the result of right heart failure, undergoing a revision total hip arthroplasty under combined spinal epidural anesthesia. Emergent veno-arterial (VA) extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) was undertaken as rescue therapy during the pulmonary hypertensive crisis and a temporizing measure to provide circulatory support in an intensive care unit (ICU). We present a narrative review on perioperative management for patients with PH undergoing non-cardiac surgery. The review goes through the updated hemodynamic definition, clinical classification of PH, perioperative morbidity, and mortality associated with PH in non-cardiac surgery. Pre-operative assessment evaluates the type of surgery, the severity of PH, and comorbidities. General anesthesia (GA) is discussed in detail for patients with PH regarding the benefits of and unsubstantiated arguments against GA in non-cardiac surgery. The literature on risks and benefits of regional anesthesia (RA) in terms of neuraxial, deep plexus, and peripheral nerve block with or without sedation in patients with PH undergoing non-cardiac surgery is reviewed. The choice of anesthesia technique depends on the type of surgery, right ventricle (RV) function, pulmonary artery (PA) pressure, and comorbidities. Given the differences in pathophysiology and mechanical circulatory support (MCS) between the RV and left ventricle (LV), the indications, goals, and contraindications of VA-ECMO as a rescue in cardiopulmonary arrest and pulmonary hypertensive crisis in patients with PH are discussed. Given the significant morbidity and mortality associated with PH, multidisciplinary teams including anesthesiologists, surgeons, cardiologists, pulmonologists, and psychological and social worker support should provide perioperative management.