Extracorporeal Life Support

In 1988, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Nicklaus Children's Hospital broke new medical ground, opening Florida's first Extracorporeal Life Support (ECLS) program to provide life-saving intervention for the region's most critically ill infants and children. Since those pioneering beginnings, the Extracorporeal Life Support program at Nicklaus Children's Hospital is proud to have given new life to hundreds of youngsters, while maintaining one of the best outcome records in the field.

The ECLS program includes Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Therapy and is one of only three in the nation to perform emergency pediatric therapeutic apheresis, a safe and effective way of treating serious blood infections and diseases. ECMO Therapy is the use of a machine that acts like an artificial heart and lungs for a child delivering the oxygen to the blood they require to stay alive.  Although a child’s heart continues to beat while undergoing this treatment, this machine makes it easier as it does much of the pumping for them. ECMO therapy is used for infants and children who suffer from respiratory and/or heart failure due to birth defects, trauma or serious infection.

Extracorporeal Life Support services are provided through the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Nicklaus Children's Hospital the leading pediatric care facility in the state of Florida.

Miami Children's Hospital also became the first hospital in Florida to have pediatric Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) available – in 1985 to provide effective oxygenation of blood for children recovering from kidney or cardio-pulmonary disorders.