Thiele H, Zeymer U, Akin I, et al. Extracorporeal Life Support in Infarct-Related Cardiogenic Shock. N Engl J Med. 2023 Aug 26. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2307227. (Original study)

BACKGROUND: Extracorporeal life support (ECLS) is increasingly used in the treatment of infarct-related cardiogenic shock despite a lack of evidence regarding its effect on mortality.

METHODS: In this multicenter trial, patients with acute myocardial infarction complicated by cardiogenic shock for whom early revascularization was planned were randomly assigned to receive early ECLS plus usual medical treatment (ECLS group) or usual medical treatment alone (control group). The primary outcome was death from any cause at 30 days. Safety outcomes included bleeding, stroke, and peripheral vascular complications warranting interventional or surgical therapy.

RESULTS: A total of 420 patients underwent randomization, and 417 patients were included in final analyses. At 30 days, death from any cause had occurred in 100 of 209 patients (47.8%) in the ECLS group and in 102 of 208 patients (49.0%) in the control group (relative risk, 0.98; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.80 to 1.19; P = 0.81). The median duration of mechanical ventilation was 7 days (interquartile range, 4 to 12) in the ECLS group and 5 days (interquartile range, 3 to 9) in the control group (median difference, 1 day; 95% CI, 0 to 2). The safety outcome consisting of moderate or severe bleeding occurred in 23.4% of the patients in the ECLS group and in 9.6% of those in the control group (relative risk, 2.44; 95% CI, 1.50 to 3.95); peripheral vascular complications warranting intervention occurred in 11.0% and 3.8%, respectively (relative risk, 2.86; 95% CI, 1.31 to 6.25).

CONCLUSIONS: In patients with acute myocardial infarction complicated by cardiogenic shock with planned early revascularization, the risk of death from any cause at the 30-day follow-up was not lower among the patients who received ECLS therapy than among those who received medical therapy alone. (Funded by the Else Kröner Fresenius Foundation and others; ECLS-SHOCK ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03637205.).

Discipline Area Score
Cardiology 7 / 7
Intensivist/Critical Care 6 / 7
Internal Medicine 6 / 7
Comments from MORE raters

Intensivist/Critical Care rater

High-quality practice-informing data.

Internal Medicine rater

As a primary care physician, this has no utility to my practice personally; however, I think it adds to the overall body of literature that is progressively suggesting many of the heroic and expensive interventions in the intensive care setting may have far less clinical utility than has often been suggested, if any exists at all.

Internal Medicine rater

Very time- and resource-dependent therapy that needs to be used only when proven beneficial.
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