Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is an advanced form of life support for critically ill patients with reversible forms of lung and/or heart failure that are unresponsive to other ventilation and support treatments. Patients must be referred by a physician.
What to expect during ECMO treatment
Connecting the patient to ECMO can occur at the bedside or in an operating room. When connected to an ECMO, the patient’s 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 the body, allowing the patient’s heart and lungs to rest. The patient will also be attached to a ventilator, intravenous (IV) lines, and other monitoring devices common to the intensive care unit (ICU). The amount of time the patient receives ECMO depends on their condition and could take several days to several weeks. The ECLS physician will discuss what to expect with you and your family.
Our ECMO team
Only hospitals with the highest level levels of intensive care offer ECMO. At UF Health Jacksonville, our multidisciplinary team of physicians, surgeons, specialized ICU nurses, and respiratory therapists work together to support patients from across Northeast Florida.
For referring physicians
When you have reached the limitations of the resources at your facility for a patient you believe can survive, UF Health Jacksonville accepts patient referrals for advanced lung support and ECMO.
We offer multiple advanced treatments, including non-conventional ventilator modes, MARS therapy, Hemolung, as well as veno-venous, veno-pulmonary, and veno-arterial ECMO. Critical Care Specialists trained in advanced cardiopulmonary support are on-site, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you would like to speak with one of our physicians about an interfacility transfer, please call 1-800-223-4878 (1-800-BAD-HURT).
When should you refer a patient for advanced lung support/ECMO?
- PO2/FiO2 < 80
- pCO2 ≥60 with pH < 7.25
- Plateau pressure > 30
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), severe asthma, flu, aspiration, broncho-pleural fistula
Contraindications to ECMO
- Non-reversible condition
- Pre-existing terminal condition with a short life expectancy
- On mechanical ventilation for more than 10 days
- Active bacteremia/fungemia
- Severe immunosuppression
If you would like to receive follow-up information about an interfacility transfer, please email email@example.com.
In the media
Douglas Kirk, RRT-ACCS, E-AEC