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JAMA Cardiology Clinical Challenge
March 17, 2021

Unusual Complication of a Right Ventricular Support–Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Cannula

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
  • 2Division of Thoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA Cardiol. 2021;6(6):723-724. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2021.0284

A previously healthy, middle-aged patient presented with rapidly increasing shortness of breath despite empirical antibiotic treatment for presumed pneumonia. A computed tomographic image of the chest was notable for diffuse, ground-glass opacities. An infectious disease workup was unrevealing, and the patient was diagnosed with acute-on-chronic respiratory failure resulting from dermatomyositis-associated interstitial lung disease. Progressive hypoxia refractory to mechanical ventilation necessitated venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV ECMO) using the ProtekDuo dual-lumen cannula (LivaNova). In its standard configuration, deoxygenated blood is drained from the right atrium while oxygenated blood is ejected into the main pulmonary artery, and the device serves as both a right ventricular support and an ECMO (RVS-ECMO) cannula. End-stage lung disease was established and, as part of a lung transplant evaluation, the patient underwent catheterization of the left side of the heart and coronary angiography. The left coronary artery angiogram revealed mild luminal irregularities. The right coronary artery (RCA) angiogram is shown in Figure 1 and Video 1.

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