Outcomes of Minority COVID-19 patients managed with ECMO: A single-center experience.


East Florida


JFK Medical Center

Document Type


Publication Date



COVID-19, ECMO, cardiovascular research, minority


Critical Care | Internal Medicine | Virus Diseases


BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has significantly burdened the global healthcare system since December 2019. Minority populations are found to have a higher incidence of hospitalization and higher mortality when compared to Caucasians. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is reserved for COVID-19 patients who develop respiratory failure refractory to conventional management. To our knowledge, no data has been reported on outcome differences between Minority COVID-19 patients and Caucasian COVID-19 patients managed with ECMO. We aimed to investigate the outcome differences between these two groups.

METHODS: Our retrospective cohort study had 23 adults (aged 18 and older) diagnosed with COVID-19 by polymerase chain reaction. All patients developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), refractory to conventional treatment, and were managed on ECMO support. The primary outcome of interest was mortality; the secondary outcome was the rate of ECMO-related complications.

RESULTS: The overall mortality rate of our study was higher (70%) than other reports of the COVID-19 population on ECMO. Caucasians in our study had more severe respiratory acidosis with carbon dioxide retention and appeared to have a higher mortality rate of 85.7% compared to Minorities (62.5%). No differences in complication rates between these two groups were identified.

CONCLUSIONS: Our cohort revealed a high overall mortality rate of COVID-19 patients on ECMO support. The Caucasian group was observed to have higher mortality than the Minority group. The high overall mortality was likely attributed to the Caucasian group, which had more severe respiratory acidosis before ECMO initiation, a known predictor of poor prognosis in ARDS patients. Our cohort's ethnic composition may also partially explain the high mortality rate since COVID-19 Minorities are reported to have worse outcomes than Caucasians. Larger and randomized studies are needed to investigate further the mortality and complication differences between Minority and Caucasian patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and managed by ECMO.

Publisher or Conference

Journal of Cardiac Surgery