In Vitro Treatment of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Coagulopathy with Recombinant von Willebrand Factor or Lyophilized Platelets

Published:December 29, 2022DOI:


      The objective was to compare primary hemostasis between adult ECMO patients and cardiac surgical patients before heparinization and cardiopulmonary bypass. Furthermore, the authors explored whether in vitro treatment of ECMO patient blood samples with recombinant von Willebrand Factor (vWF) or lyophilized platelets improved primary hemostasis in vitro.


      Prospective cohort study.


      Single academic medical center.


      Ten cardiac surgical patients and 8 adult ECMO patients.


      Cardiac surgical patients and ECMO patients had blood samples collected, and in vitro platelet thrombus formation was assessed using the ATLAS PST device. The ECMO patients had platelet thrombus formation evaluated at baseline and after in vitro treatment with recombinant vWF or lyophilized platelets, whereas cardiac surgical patients had a single blood sample obtained before heparinization and cardiopulmonary bypass run.

      Measurements and Main Results

      Median maximum force (39.7 v 260.2 nN) and thrombus area (0.05 v 0.11) at 5 minutes were lower in untreated ECMO patient samples compared with cardiac surgical patients (p = 0.008 and p < 0.001, respectively). The ECMO patient samples treated with recombinant vWF demonstrated an increase in both platelet maximum force (median value of 222.1 v 39.7 nN) (p = 0.01) and platelet thrombus area (median value of 0.16 v 0.05; p = 0.001). The ECMO patient samples treated with lyophilized platelets demonstrated no increase in platelet maximum force (median value of 193.3 v 39.7 nN; p = 0.18); however, there was a significant increase in platelet thrombus area (median value of 0.13 v 0.05; p = 0.04).


      Recombinant vWF and lyophilized platelets may help to restore primary hemostasis in ECMO patients. Future studies should further evaluate the safety and efficacy of these potential therapeutics in ECMO patients.

      Key Words

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