Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Therapy

How does ECMO work?

Dark blood (containing little oxygen) is removed from the patient through a catheter placed in a large vein in the neck. The pump, which acts as a heart, pumps the blood through the tubing into the oxygenator, which acts as a lung, where it will pick up oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. The now oxygenated blood will appear bright red in color and is warmed and retruned to the child through another catheter. The blood leaving the body is simultaneously replaced with blood that was already been through the procedure so it mimics the body's natural process as much as possible.