Concomitant Respiratory Failure Can Impair Myocardial Oxygenation in Patients with Acute Cardiogenic Shock Supported by VA-ECMO

Anthony R. Prisco, Jazmin Aguado-Sierra, Constantine Butakoff, Mariano Vazquez, Guillaume Houzeaux, Beatriz Eguzkitza, Jason A. Bartos, Demetris Yannopoulos, Ganesh Raveendran, Mikayle Holm, Tinen Iles, Claudius Mahr, Paul A. Iaizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Venous-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) treatment for acute cardiogenic shock in patients who also have acute lung injury predisposes development of a serious complication called “north-south syndrome” (NSS) which causes cerebral hypoxia. NSS is poorly characterized and hemodynamic studies have focused on cerebral perfusion ignoring the heart. We hypothesized in NSS the heart would be more likely to receive hypoxemic blood than the brain due to the proximity of the coronary arteries to the aortic annulus. To test this, we conducted a computational fluid dynamics simulation of blood flow in a human supported by VA-ECMO. Simulations quantified the fraction of blood at each aortic branching vessel originating from residual native cardiac output versus VA-ECMO. As residual cardiac function was increased, simulations demonstrated myocardial hypoxia would develop prior to cerebral hypoxia. These results illustrate the conditions where NSS will develop and the relative cardiac function that will lead to organ-specific hypoxia. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of cardiovascular translational research
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the University of Minnesota’s Medical School Academic Investment Education Program grant and the Institute for Engineering in Medicine. We also acknowledge the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) for awarding us access to Joliot-Curie Rome supercomputer at Bruyères-le-Châtel, under the project Cardiovascular-COVID. Additionally, we would like to acknowledge the Torres Quevedo Program, the Ramón y Cajal Program, and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology for support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • North-south syndrome

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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