ECMO - Heart Support


Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation or ECMO supports  patients in the ICU for a period of days to weeks. The ECMO machine is similar to the heart-lung by-pass machine used in open-heart surgery. It pumps and oxygenates a patient's blood outside the body, allowing the heart and lungs to rest. When you are connected to an ECMO, blood flows through tubing to an artificial lung in the machine that adds oxygen and takes out carbon dioxide; then the blood is warmed to body temperature and pumped back into your body. ECMO can provide both pulmonary and hemodynamic support. At CHI St Vincent Heart Institute our team of cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, and intensive care physicians work collaboratively to manage these complex patients. ECMO is used

  • For patients recovering from heart failure, or lung failure or heart surgery.
  • As a bridge option to further treatment.
  • For support during high-risk procedures in the cardiac catheterization lab.
  • As a bridge to a heart assist device, such as left ventricular assist device (LVAD).
  • As a bridge for patients awaiting lung transplant. The ECMO helps keep tissues well oxygenated, which makes the patient a better candidate for transplant. 
  • ARDS- both hypoxemic and hypercapnia
  • Cardiogenic Shock
  • Severe air leak syndrome
  • Failure to wean from cardiopulmonary bypass
  • Other indications per intensivist



Dr. Thurston Bauer Saved Mother with ECMO Therapy


Heart Conditions We Treat