Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)
Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) is a specialized life
support machine that is now available at St. Luke’s. It’s one of a limited
number of ECMO machines in the state.
According to the American Thoracic Society individuals in
need of ECMO have severe and life-threatening illnesses that stops the heart or
lungs from working properly.
During ECMO treatment blood is withdrawn from a large vein
the body, then passed through a pumping mechanism and a device that adds oxygen
and removes carbon dioxide. Blood is then returned to the individual’s
circulatory system. ECMO is a potential short-term treatment for cardiac and
respiratory failure patients and is an option for patients who may have had a heart
attack, infection, pneumonia, influenza, trauma or smoke inhalation, among
Co-medical Directors of the program,UnityPoint Clinic Multi-Specialty Pulmonologist Muhammad Anwer, MD and St. Luke’s Cardiothoracic Surgeon Garry Weide, DO, started
the hospital’s ECMO program in January.
“This important supportive treatment at St. Luke’s is backed
by a highly-skilled multidisciplinary team,” explains Dr. Weide. “ECMO provides
an option for our sickest patients to give their lungs a chance to heal and to
sustain life as their body recovers from an illness. It will be an option for
more patients earlier in the course of treatment to allow the body to heal over
the course of a few days to a few weeks. We are prepared to accept patients
from other institutions that do not have this therapy to help save lives in Eastern
ECMO is once more example of the advanced treatment
available close to home at the UnityPoint Health Heart and Vascular Institute.