Deborah Heart and Lung Center

12/30/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/30/2019 10:29

Deborah Heart and Lung Center Launches ECMO Program

Deborah Heart and Lung Center has joined an elite group of hospitals nationwide who have an ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) program.

ECMO is a highly-specialized life support system that sits outside of the patient's body. It provides cardiac and respiratory support to patients whose heart and lungs are not working properly and are unable to sustain life. ECMO is often a last option for patients who have serious lung or heart failure and need intense intervention while treatment options are deployed.

ECMO works similarly to a cardio-pulmonary bypass machine, which is used during open heart surgeries, but its design allows for it to be used for a longer period of time, Typically patients are on ECMO for a few hours to a few days, but depending on how their condition progresses, they could remain on ECMO for a few weeks.

ECMO is designed to help patients whose lungs can't give the body enough oxygen, or whose bodies can't remove carbon dioxide, or whose hearts can't pump enough blood, and can include numerous conditions, including respiratory failure, cardiogenic shock, failure to come off the cardio-pulmonary bypass machine post-surgery, cardiac arrest, extremely severe flu, while waiting for a lung transplant, while waiting for a heart transplant, and as a bridge to a ventricular assist device implant.

ECMO is not usually indicated if a patient has a fatal diagnosis or has a serious other condition like end stage cancer. The earlier a patient is identified as a potential ECMO candidate, the better the long-term prognosis.

Deborah Heart and Lung specialists have expert training in the use of ECMO. The Hospital remains one of the few centers nationwide with access to this extremely complex life support.