Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2019; 67(03): 164-169
DOI: 10.1055/s-0038-1675597
Original Cardiovascular
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Organization and Application of ECLS Therapy—A Nationwide Survey in German Cardiosurgical Departments

Alexander Assmann*
1  Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Medical Faculty, Heinrich Heine University, Duesseldorf, Germany
Udo Boeken*
1  Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Medical Faculty, Heinrich Heine University, Duesseldorf, Germany
Stefan Klotz
2  Department of Cardiac and Thoracic Vascular Surgery, University Hospital of Schleswig-Holstein, Lübeck, Germany
Wolfgang Harringer
3  Clinic for Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Klinikum Braunschweig gGmbH, Braunschweig, Germany
Andreas Beckmann
4  German Society for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Berlin, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

23 July 2018

01 October 2018

Publication Date:
20 November 2018 (online)


Background In context of the multidisciplinary German scientific guideline “Use of extracorporeal circulation (extracorporeal life support [ECLS]/extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) for cardiac and circulatory failure,” a nationwide survey should depict the status of organization and application of ECLS therapy in Germany.

Methods Between June and October 2017, a standardized questionnaire consisting of 30 items related to ECLS therapy was sent to all German cardiosurgical departments, and all returned results were analyzed and evaluated.

Results The return rate amounted to 92.9% (78 out of 84 departments). In the participating departments, ECLS therapy is subject to different responsibilities, and exhibits divergent processes and various ways for specialization of the involved personnel. This also concerns local application standards, such as cannulation strategies, anticoagulation management, left ventricular unloading, antiwatershed treatment, and weaning from circulatory support.

Conclusion This nationwide survey underlines the necessity of a multidisciplinary guideline concerning ECLS therapy.


This survey was conducted by the Working Group for Extracorporeal Circulation and Mechanical Circulatory Support and the board of directors of the German Society for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.

* Both authors contributed equally to this study.