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Elective use of veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and high-flow nasal oxygen for resection of subtotal malignant distal airway obstruction

Department of Anaesthetics, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales

Summary

We describe the use of peripheral veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV ECMO) and high-flow nasal oxygen as procedural support in a patient undergoing debulking of a malignant tumour of the lower airway. Due to the significant risk of complete airway obstruction upon induction of anaesthesia, ECMO was established while the patient was awake, and was maintained without systemic anticoagulation to minimise the risk of intraoperative bleeding. This case illustrates that ECMO support with high-flow nasal oxygen can be considered as part of the algorithm for airway management during surgery for subtotal lower airway obstruction, as it may be the only viable option for maintaining adequate gas exchange.

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