Types of ECMO

There are two types of ECMO:

Venous Arterial (VA) ECMO
Venous Venous (VV) ECMO


In VA ECMO, a catheter is placed in the vein on the right side of the neck which removes un-oxygenated blood from the body. A second catheter is placed in the artery on the right side of the neck which returns oxygenated blood from the ECMO circuit to the body.

In VV ECMO, a single catheter is placed in a vein. VV ECMO only provides support for the lungs, whereas VA provides support to the heart and the lung.

ECMO blood flow is maintained at a sufficient rate to adequately perfuse the patient and allow "rest" of the heart and lungs. In most infants, this can be achieved at flows of 80% of the required cardiac output.

ECMO is also maintained at a level such that adequate oxygen delivery is achieved for patient needs. These oxygenation needs may change from time to time, depending on the patient's condition.

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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.