BMJ Case Reports 2013; doi:10.1136/bcr-2013-009525

Rehabilitation following intracerebral haemorrhage secondary to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)

  1. Sandeep Buddha2
  1. 1St Mary's Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2Stroke Unit, St Mary's Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Amanda Kilsby, AmandaKilsby{at}


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) was first used in adults with severe respiratory failure in the 1970s. Its use has been steadily increasing since the 1990s after a trial demonstrated improved survival. There are currently seven centres in the UK offering ECMO to adults. Neurological complications are often picked up within the first few days of initiating ECMO. Intracerebral haemorrhage is a well recognised complication and it is the leading cause of death in infants on ECMO and rates of 9–18.9% in adults have been reported. We report a 52-year-old woman admitted in severe type 1 respiratory failure in January 2012. She was transferred to a tertiary centre and suffered bitemporal and right parietal haemorrhages on ECMO in late February. She was repatriated to our unit for rehabilitation in April 2012. Her rehabilitation needs represent the complexity of this patient group with multiple medical, behavioural and physical challenges.

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