The ECMO Project: Lend us a Hand!!!

So I’ve been quite passionate about adding ECPR to our shop for quite a while now, but bureaucratic hospital processes, particularly in Quebec these days, has us bogged down and makes progress slow and painful, despite good intentions. So we need a boost, not only to be able to offer this technology to our patients, but more importantly, to show that it can be done in a community hospital, that all you need is the desire to give your cardiac arrest patients the best chance at neurologically intact survival they can get.

Here’s a little explanation, particularly for the non-medical readers:

That, and of course a pre-determined corridor to a tertiary care center with a cath lab and a compatible ECMO system to yours.

We have the good fortune to be a couple blocks from the Montreal Heart Institute who are interested in collaborating, and we have the desire, skill and motivation to pull this this off.

It’s important for both MDs and non-MDs to understand that this approach would possibly save 50% of the patients that we normally have no hope to save. At the point when we initiate ECMO, these patients have almost no chance with the current means. That is an incredible impact.

But we do need your help. The government isn’t moving fast, and won’t until this is established practice (well Dr. Rola, where else is this being done locally? – same question/answer as when I asked for a 100,000$ ultrasound system for our ICU in 2004: nowhere around here!).

So I figured that if we can raise enough money, and with the help of our awesome Foundation – under the presidency of Mr. Arcobelli, no effort has been spared to raise funds and the quality of care that we offer at Santa Cabrini! So to help them out and to get the ball rolling, we’re setting up our project on chuffed.org, a crowdfunding site which is tied to the Santa Cabrini Hospital Foundation, and every dollar will be specifically earmarked for this and not used for anything else.

My hope is that by the end of 2019, we have an active ECMO unit able to be deployed for cardiac arrest cases in the east end of Montreal, and that in the years following, other community hospitals follow suit. We are a small community hospital, but with a big heart!

We need 250,000$. The device costs about 150,000$, each circuit about 7,000$ and we need to set up some training for the team. That should get us jumpstarted and cover the first 10 patients.

We’re more than happy to field any questions. As a start, the Critical Care & Ultrasound Institute be donating a minimum of 2,000$ (it’s a bit early to be able to commit to more, as we do have to feed the participants and bring the faculty…) from the H&R2019 conference,  , which takes place at Santa Cabrini Hospital from May 21-24, 2019.

I’d like to thank Joe Bellezzo, Zack Shinar and Scott Weingart from the @edecmo project who planted the seed and showed all of us that this could be done.

for those who want to know more:

CHEER Study

http://www.edecmo.org

I would also like to thank Santa Cabrini’s Team 6444  of operators, who are a major driving force behind this effort: Sandy Mormina, Rita Pisanelli and more!

PLEASE HELP AND DONATE AT: http://www.chuffed.org (not active yet, will be linked soon) and please forward this to friends and colleagues. You can also send a cheque labelled “ROLA ECMO Project” in the note part of the cheque (this will ensure that the money cannot be used for anything else) to the following address:

Santa Cabrini Hospital Foundation, 5655 Rue St-Zotique, Montreal, H1T1P7, QC, Canada.

Every dollar gets us a little bit closer!

 

cheers and thank you!

 

Dr. Philippe Rola

Chief of Service, Intensive Care Unit, Santa Cabrini Hospital

 

 

ECMO for Cardiac Arrest: a big CHEER! #FOAMed, #FOAMcc

So a couple of years ago after hearing Scott’s interview of Joe Bellezzo and Zack Shinar (http://emcrit.org/podcasts/ecmo/) I figured this was the future, and promptly got a hold of these guys and got them to present at CCUS 2013 (link to Zack’s lecture below), where their lectures were mind-blowing and instantly made any resuscitationist green with envy, me included.

So just last month, two articles came out in Resuscitation which are highly pertinent and add a lot of legitimacy to the concept of ECMO for CA, one being the CHEER study by Bernard et al (CHEER Study) and the other, a very interesting canadian retrospective observational study by Bednarczyk et al (ecmo arrest canadian).

 

CHEER!!!

First, the CHEER study. Very well done, designed to combine ECMO, mechanical CPR and hypothermia, N=26, so not massive, but given the magnitude of the treatment effect, IMHO highly significant. Very good criteria (18-65, VF) so basically working with patients having a reasonable prognosis (aside from the cardiac arrest…), and their starting point was after 30 minutes of unsuccessful ACLS.

Now, for experienced clinicians out there, it is fairly obvious that at around 30 minutes, we start to get a little discouraged. Maybe not ready to throw in the towel, but we know things are looking dim. And most of those who do get a late ROSC don’t tend to do very well on the long term…

So it takes the CHEER team about 56 minutes to ECMO runtime.  Now, by 56 minutes of no-ROSC, most arrests would have been called. I think that is a key point to underline – the study essentially begins here, at a point where prognosis is no longer that 8-26% “quoted” survival, but pretty close to 0%.

So what happens? 54% of these patients survive to hospital discharge with good neurological recovery. Lets put this in perspective again. They bring back half the people we probably would have given up on…and discharge them home!!!  That’s crazy impressive.

This pretty much correlates with the experience of Zack and Joe (www.edecmo.com), who recently told me the story of a 20 year old diabetic with a K of 9.0 and an arrest of over 45 minutes. Discharge home a week or so later. Completely fine. Back on facebook and skyping with Zack & Joe.

That’s a humbling thing, because in my ED, my ICU, my hands, she’s a goner. 

 

The Canadian Perspective

Ok, so the Bernardczyk article is also really interesting, because it shows that this can be accomplished in a community hospital, and not necessarily only a tertiary care center, and their numbers (albeit retrospectively) are in the same ballpark.

And here is an awesome point of view from their discussion which I completely agree with and ascribe to:

“This (…) challenges our understanding of cardiac arrest as a terminal manifestation of a dis-ease process with treatment options fraught with futility. Rather, for selected patients, cardiac arrest may be better considered anexacerbating symptom of underlying disease with a therapeutic window to effectively restore perfusing circulation while providing definitive therapy.”

 

Thoughts…

So one concern is with bringing back severely neurologically disabled patients. I think the CHEER, the canadian and the japanese data all pretty much refute this. ECMO, particularly paired with hypothermia (probably TTM style now), seems to have remarkable neuroprotective effects, despite prolonged low-flow states. I think we all rarely see patients with 40-50 minute range arrests showing CPC scores of 1…

So why might this occur?  Does the sudden flow reverse some of the vasoconstriction caused by the epinephrine?  I know from discussing with Joe that if they are thinking that the patient is going to ECMO, they will avoid epinephrine. Recent years have clearly shown that the improved ROSC of epinephrine comes at a cost of greater neurological damage, hence equivocal final result of intact neurological survival.

 

Bottom line?

If you’re a resuscitationist, get on board.  Its expensive, but no more than a bunch of other (sometimes dubious or dogmatic) things we do – and the data is there. I’ve been working on my (community) hospital and will not quit until we have it.

What do you need? A cooperating ER chief / ICU chief, and either a cath lab and a vascular surgeon in your institution or in a collaborating neighbourhood one.

…and some cojones.

 

Absolutely love to hear your thoughts, particularly from anyone with ECMO experience!

…this, of course, and more, at CCUS 2015!   http://ccusinstitute.org/Symposium7.html

 

cheers! (pun intended)

Philippe

 

…and here is Zack at CCUS 2013:

http://www.ccusinstitute.org/Video.asp?sVideo=Resuscitation%20Zach