Extracorporeal life support for patients with newly diagnosed HIV and acute respiratory distress syndrome: A systematic review and analysis of individual patient data


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) may improve survival in patients with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). However, presence of immunosuppression is a relative contraindication for ECMO, which is withheld in HIV patients. We performed a systematic review to investigate the outcome of newly diagnosed HIV patients with ARDS receiving ECMO support. Our search yielded 288 publications, with 22 studies finally included. Initial presentation included fever, respiratory distress, and cough. Severe immunodeficiency was confirmed in most patients. Deceased patients had a higher viral load, a lower Horovitz index, and antiretroviral therapy utilized before ECMO. Moreover, ECMO duration was longer (p = 0.0134), and all deceased suffered from sepsis (p = 0.0191). Finally, despite the development of therapeutic options for HIV patients, ECMO remains a relative contraindication. We found that ECMO may successfully bridge the time for pulmonary recovery in 93% of patients, with a very good outcome. Using ECMO, the time for antimicrobial therapy, lung-protective ventilation, and immune system restitution may be gained. Further studies clarifying the role of ECMO in HIV are crucial and until these data are available, ECMO might be appropriate in immunocompromised patients. This holds especially true in newly diagnosed HIV patients, who are usually young, without comorbidities, with a good rehabilitation potential.


Rajsic S, Breitkopf R, Kojic D, Bukumiric Z, Treml B




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Co-morbidities
    • Other
  • Health Systems
    • Delivery arrangements


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