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In this short commentary, the author points out the relevance of lymphopenia in the prognosis of patients with COVID-19 and how ECMO may reduce the lymphocyte count and prevent recovery from the disease.
This is a thought-provoking paper cautioning the use of ECMO in patients with COVID-19.
- Morgan Soffler, MD
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) can serve as life-saving rescue therapy for refractory respiratory failure in the setting of acute respiratory distress syndrome, such as that induced by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In the study by Yang and colleagues, who compared clinical characteristics and outcomes in patients with severe COVID-19, five (83%) of six patients receiving ECMO died. Although this sample was small, and specific baseline characteristics and disease courses were almost unknown, it raises concerns about potential harms of ECMO therapy for COVID-19.