Veno-venous extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation in a COVID-19 patient with cold-agglutinin haemolytic anaemia: A case report

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OVERVIEW: The use of extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) therapy to treat severe COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory failure is increasing worldwide. We reported herein the use of veno-venous ECMO in a patient with cold agglutinin haemolytic anaemia (CAHA) who suffered from severe COVID-19 infection.

DESCRIPTION: A 64-year-old man presented to the emergency department (ED) with incremental complaints of dyspnoea and cough since one week. His history consisted of CAHA, which responded well to corticosteroid treatment. Because of severe hypoxemia, urgent intubation and mechanical ventilation were necessary. Despite deep sedation, muscle paralysis and prone ventilation, P/F ratio remained low. Though his history of CAHA, he still was considered for VV-ECMO. As lab results pointed to recurrence of CAHA, corticosteroids and rituximab were started. The VV-ECMO run was short and rather uncomplicated. Although, despite treatment, CAHA persisted and caused important complications of intestinal ischemia, which needed multiple surgical interventions. Finally, the patient suffered from progressive liver failure, thought to be secondary to ischemic cholangitis. One month after admission, therapy was stopped and patient passed away.

CONCLUSION: Our case report shows that CAHA is no contraindication for VV-ECMO, even when both titre and thermal amplitude are high. Although, the aetiology of CAHA and its response to therapy will determine the final outcome of those patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1746-1750
Number of pages5
Issue number8
Early online date21 Sep 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: F.H.V. is supported by the Special Research Fund (BOF) of Hasselt University (BOF19PD04).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.

Copyright 2022 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • COVID-19
  • Venovenous
  • case report
  • cold agglutinins
  • extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation
  • haemolytic anaemia


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