Influenza A (H1N1) virus-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome: the potential role of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in pandemic level treatment
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The 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) virus quickly became a pandemic and a threat to the health of many across the globe. H1N1 was able to preferentially bind to pneumocytes in the lower lung, resulting in atelectasis, surfactant disruption, and eventual acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Management of ARDS during this time included non-ventilatory and ventilatory techniques such as conservative fluid management, prone positioning, differing PEEP levels, and Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO). High cost, unequal global access to ECMO centers, and complication rates present challenges to future ECMO expansion. Despite this, the available information supports the use of ECMO for H1N1-associated ARDS. Future studies and simulations should be conducted to expand the knowledge base on using ECMO as a treatment for pandemic influenza-associated ARDS, with particular attention on bridging gaps in access for the most vulnerable and affected populations.