Risk Factors for Hemolysis During Extracorporeal Life Support for Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia

Published:February 20, 2021DOI:



      Neonates receiving extracorporeal life support (ECLS) for congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) require prolonged support compared with neonates with other forms of respiratory failure. Hemolysis is a complication that can be seen during ECLS and can lead to renal failure and potentially to worse outcomes. The purpose of this study was to identify risk factors for the development of hemolysis in CDH patients treated with ECLS.


      The Extracorporeal Life Support Organization database was used to identify infants with CDH (2000-2015). The primary outcome was hemolysis (plasma-free hemoglobin >50 mg/dL). Potentially associated variables were identified in the data set. Descriptive statistics and a series of nested multivariable logistic regression models were used to identify associations between hemolysis and demographic, pre-ECLS, and on-ECLS factors.


      There were 4576 infants with a mortality of 52.5%. The overall mean rate of hemolysis was 10.5% during the study period. In earlier years (2000-2005), the hemolysis rates were 6.3% and 52.7% for roller versus centrifugal pumps, whereas in later years (2010-2015), they were 2.9% and 26.5%, respectively. The fully adjusted model demonstrated that the use of centrifugal pumps was a strong predictor of hemolysis (odds ratio: 6.67, 95% confidence interval: 5.14-8.67). In addition, other risk factors for hemolysis included low 5-min Apgar score, on-ECLS complications (renal, metabolic, and cardiovascular), and duration of ECLS.


      In our cohort of CDH patients receiving ECLS over 15 y, the use of centrifugal pumps increased over time, along with the rate of hemolysis. Patient- and treatment-level risk factors were identified contributing to the development of hemolysis.


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