Oklahoma Heart Institute is the first and only in the Tulsa area as of May 2018 to offer adult ECMO which stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. ECMO is for patients who are extremely sick due to acute heart and/or lung failure that is potentially reversible and unresponsive to conventional management. The ECMO machine helps to alleviate the stress on these vital organs in order for them to have a chance to rest and recover until they are able to properly function again. Placing a patient on ECMO is done either in the operating room, cath lab or at the patient’s bedside. When connected to an ECMO machine, the blood flows through a tube into an artificial lung for the purpose of removing carbon dioxide and adding oxygen. Then, the blood is warmed to body temperature and pumped back into the body. Depending on the condition of the patient, they may stay on ECMO anywhere from just days to several weeks. During this time, the medical team is able to treat them with a variety of procedures, medicines or give them adequate time to recover.

ECMO is used:

  • To assist patients recovering from heart failure, lung failure or heart surgery
  • During an LVAD (left ventricular assist device) procedure or similar
  • During high-risk cardiac catheterization lab procedures
  • Overwhelming infection
  • Burn injury to the lungs
  • Acute heart failure
  • Blood clot in the lungs
  • Low body temperature
  • Drug intoxication
  • Chest trauma
  • Influenza
  • Pneumonia
ECMO Machine
Oxygenator Centrifugal Pump