Extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (eCPR) and cerebral perfusion: A narrative review


      Extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (eCPR) is emerging as an effective, lifesaving resuscitation strategy for select patients with prolonged or refractory cardiac arrest. Currently, a paucity of evidence-based recommendations is available to guide clinical management of eCPR patients. Despite promising results from initial clinical trials, neurological injury remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Neuropathology associated with utilization of an extracorporeal circuit may interact significantly with the consequences of a prolonged low-flow state that typically precedes eCPR. In this narrative review, we explore current gaps in knowledge about cerebral perfusion over the course of cardiac arrest and resuscitation with a focus on patients treated with eCPR. We found no studies which investigated regional cerebral blood flow or cerebral autoregulation in human cohorts specific to eCPR. Studies which assessed cerebral perfusion in clinical eCPR were small and limited to near-infrared spectroscopy. Furthermore, no studies prospectively or retrospectively evaluated the relationship between epinephrine and neurological outcomes in eCPR patients. In summary, the field currently lacks a comprehensive understanding of how regional cerebral perfusion and cerebral autoregulation are temporally modified by factors such as pre-eCPR low-flow duration, vasopressors, and circuit flow rate. Elucidating these critical relationships may inform future strategies aimed at improving neurological outcomes in patients treated with lifesaving eCPR.


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