Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Candidacy Decisions: An Argument for a Process-Based Longitudinal Approach*

Are all children extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) candidates? Navigating ECMO decisions represents an enormous challenge in pediatric critical care. ECMO cannulation should not be a default option as it will not confer benefit for “all” critically ill children; however, “all” children deserve well-considered decisions surrounding their ECMO candidacy. The complexity of the decision demands a systematic, “well-reasoned” and “dynamic” approach. Due to clinical urgency, this standard cannot always be met prior to initiation of ECMO. We challenge the paradigm of “candidacy” as a singular decision that must be defined prior to ECMO initiation. Rather, the determination as to whether ECMO is in the patient’s best interest is applicable regardless of cannulation status. The priority should be on collaborative, interdisciplinary decision-making processes aligned with principles of transparency, relevant reasoning, accountability, review, and appeal. To ensure a robust process, it should not be temporally constrained by cannulation status. We advocate that this approach will decrease both the risk of not initiating ECMO in a patient who will benefit and the risk of prolonged, nonbeneficial support. We conclude that to ensure fair decisions are made in a patient’s best interest, organizations should develop procedurally fair processes for ECMO decision-making that are not tied to a particular time point and are revisited along the management trajectory...
Source: Pediatric Critical Care Medicine - Category: Pediatrics Tags: Online PCCM Perspectives Source Type: research
More News: Children | Pediatrics