Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) is a therapy used to support patients with severe heart and/or lung failure, using equipment that is similar to the machines used for cardiac bypass surgery in the operating room (OR).
There are two types of ECMO:
The ECMO machine is made up of several parts including:
There are many diseases that can cause a patient’s heart or lungs to fail. The usual treatments for most of these problems include oxygen delivery, use of a breathing machine (ventilator), medications to help open the lungs or relax the blood vessels between the heart and lungs, and medications to support the heart and blood pressure. In some cases, the child’s heart or lungs may be too sick to respond to these treatments, and that is where ECMO support can help. A few of the diseases that can be treated with ECMO are listed below:
The ECMO team is made up of many different specialists who work together to provide the best possible care for patients who need ECMO support. In addition to the highly skilled nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, child life specialists, and social workers who are always involved in pediatric care, the following people will be available 24 hours a day to care for patients on ECMO.