ECMO Complications

There are numerous complications of ECMO that might occur:

  • Internal bleeding may result since the blood must be kept from clotting. A drug called Heparin is given to thin the blood which can lead to bleeding problems.
  • Whenever a tube is inserted in a blood vessel, there is an increased risk of infection, surgical complications and stroke, which may occur since the procedure involves tying off two major blood vessels, typically the carotid and the internal jugular vein.
  • Blood clots are another complication of ECMO that can occur even though the circuit is monitored visually for any signs of clots or air.
  • Transfusion-related infections may occur due to the fact that patients will be receiving blood and blood products transfusions.
  • Techanical failure or malfunction can occur just as any piece of equipment can.
Contact Critical Care

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A recent quality-of-care assessment of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Nicklaus Children's conducted by the National Association of Children's Hospitals compares patient outcomes with results obtained from similar intensive care units around the country. Nicklaus Children's PICU was ranked excellent, the number one unit in the study, due principally to better than predicted results obtained in caring for the highest risk patients.