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Who Are the Right Candidates for ECMO?

By Medical Expert Team

Jan 17 , 2018 | 2 min read

With the advancements in technology, the medical arena has also marched ahead with its high-end tools and new inventions treating the most challenging health situations ever. ECMO is one such invention which has the capability to provide life support to a critical patient. It is being used for treating adults and children facing cardiac and respiratory failure.

ECMO - extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is a high-end technology used for rescuing the patients suffering from heart and lung failure. The machine, when connected to a patient, pumps oxygenated blood back into the body. This allows the heart and the lungs of the patient to rest and heal. ECMO also acts as a bridge for the patients waiting for a lung transplant.

Types of ECMO

There are various forms of ECMO, but two of the most common ones are VA ECMO and VV ECMO.

Veno-Arterial (VA)

Also known as VA ECMO, it is connected to a vein and an artery for blood circulation. VA ECMO is mostly used when both heart and lungs are not able to perform their function properly.

Veno-Venous (VV)

VV ECMO is a machine connected to one or more veins and is used for providing support to the lungs.

Depending on the patient’s condition, we at Max Healthcare select the option which is best suitable for them.

ECMO is no less than a saviour in many conditions and to know the eligibility of a patient for ECMO, it is important to first know about the conditions where it is primarily recommended by doctors.

Heart Failure or Lung Failure

ECMO is used when a patient is recovering from heart failure or lung failure. Moreover, patients who have had a heart surgery in the past are also recommended for ECMO.

Before Heart or Lung Surgery

ECMO is also used as a bridge option before performing heart or lung surgery to assess the functioning of other organs of the body.

Support After Heart Attack

During high-risk procedure after a massive heart attack, doctors use ECMO for providing support to the patient’s life.

Lung Transplant

It is also used for patients awaiting lung transplant. The technology keeps the tissues well oxygenated helping the patient in becoming a better candidate for the transplant.

Heart Assist Device

It is also used as a bridge for heart assist device like left ventricular assist device (LVAD) in cases of heart failure.

Some other health issues that are related to severe lung failure are - Swine Flu infection (H1N1) and Dengue fever. Looking at the patient’s condition and eligibility, the doctors recommend the use of ECMO to treat the patient.

People suffering from one or any of the conditions mentioned below are usually considered the right candidate for ECMO:

  • Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
  • Post Arrest Shock
  • Refractory Septic / Cardiogenic Shock
  • Meconium Aspiration
  • Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia
  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Poisoning

Till now, the success rate of ECMO has been remarkable, and it has proved to be quite beneficial for many patients. Here, at Max Healthcare, we have also installed this state-of-the-art technology to ensure better treatment for our patients. We are equipped with a team of highly qualified cardiologists who keep in mind the requirements of the patients to provide them with the best treatment for a quick recovery.

Post your suggestions or doubts in the comment box below, and we at Max Healthcare will do our best to answer it.


Written and Verified by:

Medical Expert Team

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