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The novel coronavirus has now infected tens of thousands of people in China and has spread rapidly around the globe.1 The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the disease, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and released interim guidelines on patient management.2 Early reports that emerged from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, demonstrated that the clinical manifestations of infection were fever, cough, and dyspnea, with radiological evidence of viral pneumonia.3,4 Approximately 15% to 30% of these patients developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The WHO interim guidelines made general recommendations for treatment of ARDS in this setting, including that consideration be given to referring patients with refractory hypoxemia to expert centers capable of providing extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).2
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MacLaren G, Fisher D, Brodie D. Preparing for the Most Critically Ill Patients With COVID-19: The Potential Role of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation. JAMA. 2020;323(13):1245–1246. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.2342
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