Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is life-saving for potentially reversible heart failure and respiratory injuries not responsive to conventional therapies. Technological innovations have produced over the years significant improvements in ECMO devices (pump, cannula design and oxygenator) and have allowed a better risk/benefit profile. Alongside with recognized advantages in the treatment of very sick patients, ECMO remains an invasive procedure for mechanical circulatory support (MCS) and it is associated with complications that strongly influence the prognosis. Current review was designed to provide a comprehensive outline on ECMO complications, analyzing risk factors and strategies of management, focusing on adult population undergoing veno-arterial ECMO (VA-ECMO) therapy.
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