1.1 The evidence on the efficacy of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for acute heart failure in adults is adequate but there is uncertainty about which patients are likely to benefit from this procedure, and the evidence on safety shows a high incidence of serious complications. Therefore, this procedure should only be used with special arrangements for clinical governance, consent and audit or research.
1.2 Clinicians wishing to undertake ECMO for acute heart failure in adults should take the following actions.
Inform the clinical governance leads in their NHS trusts.
Ensure that patients and their carers understand the uncertainty about the procedure's safety and efficacy and provide them with clear written information. In addition, the use of NICE's information for the public is recommended.
Submit data on all adults undergoing ECMO for acute heart failure to the international Extracorporeal Life Support Organization register.
1.3 ECMO for acute heart failure in adults should only be carried out by clinical teams with specific training and expertise in the procedure.
1.4 NICE encourages further research into ECMO for acute heart failure. This should include clear documentation of patient selection and indications for the use of ECMO. Outcome measures should include survival, quality of life and neurological status.