Extra-corporeal membranous oxygenation (ECMO) has been applied in patients with cardiopulmonary failure. One critical drawback of peripheral ECMO is an increase in left ventricular (LV) afterload which could be counterbalanced by the combination of intra-aortic balloon counter-pulsation (IABP) therapy. We hypothesized that an add-on therapy with IABP could improve outcomes in patients receiving ECMO support. We included patients (>18 years old) from 2002 to 2013 requiring ECMO support due to cardiogenic shock in a medical center. A total of 529 patients (227 ECMO alone and 302 combined IABP plus ECMO) were included. The mortality rates at 2 weeks (48.5 vs. 47.7%) after ECMO implantation were not different between the two groups (ECMO vs. combined group). After adjustment for propensity score and potential confounders, the odds ratios of outcomes within 14 days (combined group vs. ECMO) for poor LV systolic function, high preload, multi-organ failure and mortality were not different. The results remained similar for subgroup analysis. Compared with ECMO alone, combined IABP and ECMO treatment did not improve outcomes in patients with circulatory failure.
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