Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital provides extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) – a complex therapy involving a pump that circulates blood through an artificial lung before returning it to the bloodstream of a very ill baby. Essentially, this system provides heart-lung bypass support outside of the baby’s body.
Why and When is ECMO Used?ECMO is used in infants who are extremely ill due to breathing or heart problems. The purpose of ECMO is to provide adequate oxygen to the baby while allowing time for the baby’s lungs and heart to rest or heal.
The most common conditions that may require ECMO today are congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS), severe pulmonary hypertension, cardiac malformations, pneumonia and severe air leak problems. It may also be used during the recovery period after pediatric heart surgery.