What is ECMO?
ECMO stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, a procedure in which a machine outside of the body takes over the work of your child’s heart and/or lungs to allow them to rest and heal.
The machine is connected to the patient’s body by a catheter (tube) inserted during surgery through the arteries and veins of the neck area in infants, or the groin in children, or the chest (following cardiac surgery). Your child will be given medications during surgery to prevent pain and movement.
Your child will also have a breathing tube inserted through his nose or mouth that is connected to a ventilator, which is needed to prevent his lungs from collapsing while they heal.
Conditions treated using ECMO include:
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension of newborn
- Meconium aspiration syndrome
- Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
- Air leak syndrome
- Acute respiratory failure
- Post trauma
- Severe asthma attacks that don’t respond to other therapies
- Aspiration syndromes from a foreign body, hydrocarbons or water from near drowning
- Failure to wean from cardiopulmonary bypass following heart surgery
- ECPR (extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation)