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Review article: Biomedical intelligence

Vol. 145 No. 0910 (2015)

Troubleshooting in extracorporeal life support

  • Denis Berdajs
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2015;145:w14117


Since the first clinical use of extracorporeal circulation in the last century by John Gibbon and the first successful mechanical support of the left ventricular function by Forest Dodrill, the progress of techniques and technologies has helped to develop minimised systems for extracorporeal circulatory and respiratory support. However, the fact is that, despite the advanced technologies used for extracorporeal support, successful application in order to be benefit a critically ill population requires highly trained and skilled teams. Application of these highly sophisticated techniques in life-saving situations inside and/or outside the operating room is a procedure with certain pitfalls and dangers.

The aim of this review is to provide a short overview of the technical aspects of extracorporeal circulation, with a look at the recent literature and clinical experiences focusing on technical as well surgical considerations regarding the urgent and/or emergent usage of a central as well as peripheral extracorporeal system.


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