BackgroundSystemic rheumatic diseases (SRDs) are a group of inflammatory disorders that can require intensive care unit (ICU) admission because of multiorgan involvement with end-organ failure(s). Critically ill SRD patients requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) were studied to gain insight into their characteristics and outcomes.MethodsThis French monocenter, retrospective study included all SRD patients requiring venovenous (VV)- or venoarterial (VA)-ECMO admitted to a 26-bed ECMO-dedicated ICU from January 2006 to February 2020. The primary endpoint was in-hospital mortality.ResultsNinety patients (male/female ratio: 0.5; mean age at admission: 41.6 ± 15.2 years) admitted to the ICU received VA/VV-ECMO, respectively, for an SRD-related flare (n = 69, n = 38/31) or infection (n = 21, n = 10/11). SRD was diagnosed in-ICU for 31 (34.4%) patients. In-ICU and in-hospital mortality rates were 48.9 and 51.1%, respectively. Nine patients were bridged to cardiac (n = 5) or lung transplantation (n = 4), or left ventricular assist device (n = 2). The Cox multivariable model retained the following independent predictors of in-hospital mortality: in-ICU SRD diagnosis, day-0 Simplified Acute Physiology Score (SAPS) II score ≥ 70 and arterial lactate ≥ 7.5 mmol/L for VA-ECMO–treated patients; diagnosis other than vasculitis, day-0 SAPS II score ≥ 70, ventilator-associated pneumonia and arterial lactate ≥ 7.5 mmol/L for VV-ECMO–treated patients.ConclusionsECMO support is a relevant rescue technique for critically ill SRD patients, with 49% survival at hospital discharge. Vasculitis was independently associated with favorable outcomes of VV-ECMO–treated patients. Further studies are needed to specify the role of ECMO for SRD patients.