Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) at The Christ Hospital​

Critical Life Support for Those With Life-Threatening Cardiopulmonary Illness or Injury

The ECMO Program at The Christ Hospital provides extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for adults suffering from cardiopulmonary conditions that require critical care.

A team of experienced, caring ECMO specialists leads our program. ECMO is part of our state-of-the-art, acclaimed cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU), which includes the largest mechanical cardiac support and structural heart programs in the region.

Our doctors and nurses are skilled in both heart and vascular care and critical care and have access to technology typically only seen in large academic medical centers — giving patients with life-threatening heart or lung conditions who require ECMO the best opportunity for a successful outcome.

What is ECMO?

ECMO – or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation – is a type of life support technology that does the work of the heart and lungs when they're unable to do the work themselves. The machine moves deoxygenated blood out of the body and through an artificial lung. 

The artificial lung adds oxygen to the blood, removes carbon dioxide and then pumps the blood back into the body. People who have a severe illness or injury that keeps the heart or lungs from functioning correctly may need ECMO for some time – from a few hours to a few days or, in some cases, weeks – until they recover or receive treatment such as surgery.

ECMO is advanced care for the most critically ill. Some conditions that may call for the use of ECMO include cardiogenic shock after a severe heart attack, infections that cause severe lung damage, and heart and lung diseases that require transplant surgery.

Highlights of our ECMO Program include:

  • A multidisciplinary care team available 24/7 with experience making complex decisions concerning the use and management of mechanical cardiac support

  • A part of the CVICU at The Christ Hospital Heart & Vascular Center, which is trusted by doctors from all over the region and beyond with the most complex critical care cardiology cases

  • All-encompassing care offering both venoarterial ECMO (VA ECMO) and venovenous ECMO (VV ECMO)