Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), also known as extracorporeal life support (ECLS) or a modified heart-lung machine, is a temporary life support technique to keep patients alive when their heart and/or lungs stop functioning. It can be used to provide cardiac and respiratory support for up to a few weeks, during which the patient recovers.
ECMO uses a modified ‘heart-lung machine’ that is routinely used for open-heart surgery. It involves the use of a centrifugal pump (artificial heart), which takes over the work of the heart and an oxygenator (artificial lung), which takes over the work of the lungs.
(above) Venoarterial (VA) ECMO (left) provides both respiratory and hemodynamic support, with the ECMO circuit connected in parallel to the heart and lungs, while venovenous (VV) ECMO (right) provides only lung support and the circuit is connected in series to the heart and lungs.
ECMO Life Support Option
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