Pumping your blood through artificial lungs let your heart rest
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
If you heart is failing or you have recently undergone heart surgery, your heart may need time to rest or recover. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, pumps your blood through a machine so your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body. We also may recommend ECMO to prepare your heart for an assist device, such as a left ventricular assist device (LVAD).
Our Cardiac Surgery Program is one of the highest-volume cardiac surgery centers in the region. These surgeons’ experience helps them determine best practices to refine surgical techniques and improve patient care. Patients who need ECMO often are critically ill, and our surgeons work with other teams such as palliative care or heart failure doctors to treat their complex and unique conditions.
What to expect from ECMO
ECMO often is used for patients who already have been admitted to the hospital. The procedure to connect you to the ECMO machine will be performed in your hospital room. You will be sedated and given medications to reduce pain and prevent blood clots.
The ECMO machine is connected to you using thin, flexible tubes called catheters that are inserted into an artery and a vein. If you also are placed on a ventilator to relieve stress on your lungs, you will be sedated and likely have a feeding tube inserted for nutrition.
Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.
Transesophageal echocardiogram allows us to take very detailed images of your heart structure from a probe in your esophagus.