Caring for critically ill patients often requires the use of complex therapies such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). This life-support modality helps patients whose lungs are unable to adequately oxygenate their body, even with supplemental oxygen. It mechanically oxygenates their blood long enough for them to heal from their initial acute cardiovascular/pulmonary injury or undergo required procedures and interventions.
While ECMO therapy is not new, its use has grown tremendously since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. One report from the Mayo Clinic citing the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization estimates that approximately 500 hospitals around the world can perform ECMO, and healthcare providers used ECMO more than 20,000 times worldwide in 2021.
This intricate mode of life support requires specialized training and expertise to implement safely and effectively. Caring for patients on ECMO involves keeping a close eye on each patient’s unique clinical needs, treatment interventions, surveillance and assessment techniques, and prevention and management of complications/emergencies. AACN offers an array of resources to support you in providing the best possible care for patients undergoing ECMO therapy.
Keeping up with the latest evidence-based practices is essential for the safe care of patients receiving ECMO therapy. Our featured ECMO resources help you stay current on this intricate form of life support so you can provide the best possible care for your patients.
ECMO nursing is not about how to run the device; it’s about understanding the physiology of the patient and how implementation of the device affects that physiology.Jenny Sinclair, MSN, RN, CCRN-CSC-CMC, E-AEC, ECMO Coordinator
Access AACN’s full collection of educational content on caring for patients receiving ECMO therapy. This compilation includes information designed to support and enhance your ECMO nursing practice.