Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has emerged as an invaluable tool for bridging severe isolated or combined failure of lung and heart. Due to massive technical improvements, the application of ECMO is growing fast. While historically ECMO was initiated and maintained by cardiac surgeons, in recent times interventional cardiologists and intensive care specialists increasingly run ECMO systems independently with great success. Percutaneous ECMO circuits are usually set up in a dual cannulation mode, either as veno-venous or as veno-arterial configuration. A novel advanced strategy is the cannulation of three large vessels (triple cannulation), resulting in veno-veno-arterial or veno-arterio-venous cannulation. Both veno-venous and veno-arterio-venous cannulation may further be upgraded to veno-pulmonary-arterial or veno-arterial-pulmonary arterial cannulation, respectively. Triple cannulation expands the field of ECMO application but substantially increases the complexity of ECMO circuits. In this chapter, we review percutaneous dual and triple cannulation strategies, featuring a recently proposed unifying nomenclature. This unequivocal code universally applies to both dual and triple cannulation strategies (VV, VPa, VA, VVA, VAV, VAPa). The technical evolution of ECMO is growing fast, but it has to be noted that current knowledge of ECMO support is mainly based on observation. Thus controlled trials are urgently needed to prospectively evaluate different ECMO modes.
Part of the book: Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation