Leligdowicz A, Fan E. Curr Opin Crit Care. 2015 Feb;21(1):13-9

Purpose of review: To provide a summary of the recent literature on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in adults with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), focusing on advances in equipment, current conventional and unconventional indications, complications, and future applications.

Recent findings: ECMO use has increased during the past 5 years. Advances in cannulation, circuit design, and patient selection have made it a safer therapeutic option in severe ARDS, and its use has become more widespread for nonconventional indications.

Summary: High-quality evidence for the routine use of ECMO for management of adult patients with severe ARDS is still lacking. An ongoing randomized controlled trial (ECMO to rescue lung injury in severe ARDS) will contribute valuable data to guide clinical decisions to opt for this supportive therapy.

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