BACKGROUND: Venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) is increasingly used in patients with critical cardiopulmonary failure. To investigate the association between hospital VA-ECMO procedure volume and outcomes in a large, nationwide registry.
METHODS: By using administrative data from the German Federal Health Monitoring System, we analyzed all VA-ECMO procedures performed in Germany from 2013 to 2016 regarding the association of procedural volumes with outcomes and complications.
RESULTS: During the study period, 10,207 VA-ECMO procedures were performed; mean age was 61 years, 43.4% had prior CPR, and 71.2% were male patients. Acute coronary syndrome was the primary diagnosis for VA-ECMO implantation (n = 6202, 60.8%). The majority of implantations (n = 5421) were performed at hospitals in the lowest volume category (≤ 50 implantations per year). There was a significant association between annualized volume of VA-ECMO procedures and 30-day in-hospital mortality for centers with lower vs. higher volume per year. Multivariable logistic regression showed an increased 30-day in-hospital mortality at hospitals with the lowest volume category (adjusted odds ratio 1.13, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01-1.27, p = 0.034). Similarly, higher likelihood for complications was observed at hospitals with lower vs. higher annual VA-ECMO volume (adjusted odds ratio 1.46, 95% CI 1.29-1.66, p = 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: In this analysis of more than 10,000 VA-ECMO procedures for cardiogenic shock, the majority of implantations were performed at hospitals with the lowest annual volume. Thirty-day in-hospital mortality and likelihood for complications were higher at hospitals with the lowest annual VA-ECMO volume.