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ABSTRACT: We describe a case of near-fatal asthma requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). The patient presented with severe respiratory distress, which was not responsive to conventional pharmacological therapy. The patient also failed to respond to mechanical ventilation and thus was placed on venovenous ECMO for temporary pulmonary support. A fiberoptic bronchoscopy revealed that large amounts of thick bronchial secretions had occluded the main bronchus, which suggested plastic bronchitis secondary to asthma. Aggressive airway hygiene with frequent bronchoscopies and application of biphasic cuirass ventilation for facilitation of secretion clearance were performed to improve the patient's respiratory status. The patient achieved a full recovery and suffered no neurological sequelae. This case illustrates that aggressive pulmonary hygiene with ECMO is a useful therapy for patients with asthma-associated plastic bronchitis.
Journal of Anesthesia 11/2011; 26(2):265-8. · 0.87 Impact Factor