ECMO: The Ultimate Support for the Cardiopulmonary System

Part of AACN Critical Care Webinar Series

Presenter(s): Nitasha L Joyner; Michael G Petty, PhD, RN, CCNS, ACNS-BC

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Webinar Summary

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a technique first developed in the late 1970s to support patients experiencing profound cardiopulmonary failure.

Over the last 35 years, ECMO technology has been refined and outcomes have improved in adults treated with this therapy. Once used primarily to support patients with severe cardiac failure, its use for patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome is now commonplace since the H1N1 pandemic.

This webinar presentation will discuss the history of ECMO, its current applications in adults, nursing interventions specific to caring for patients treated with ECMO, and outcomes of patients supported with this unique therapy.


  • Identify at least one indication for application of ECMO.
  • Distinguish the differences between V-V and V-A ECMO.
  • List at least two nursing interventions specific to the care of patients treated with ECMO.


Nitasha L Joyner

Nitasha L Joyner

As the ECMO coordinator and staff perfusionist for pediatric and adult programs at the University of Minnesota Medical Center (UMMC), Nitasha Joyner oversees all aspects of the facility’s ECMO program. Ms. Joyner’s responsibilities include organizing physicians and specialists, defining protocols, establishing comptencies, educating physicians, perfusionists and staff, and integrating innovative techniques to improve both perfusion and patient outcomes. She also handles all ECMO-related data management for UMMC and the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) Registry.

Michael G Petty, PhD, RN, CCNS, ACNS-BC

Michael G Petty, PhD, RN, CCNS, ACNS-BC

A critical care nurse for more than 33 years, Michael Petty currently serves as a cardiothoracic clinical nurse specialist at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. In this role, he supports nurses and others caring for patients supported with ECMO through education and clinical consultation. He also develops and modifies order sets to promote best practices. In addition, Mr. Petty is a founding member and current president of the International Consortium of Circulatory Assist Clinicians, a professional mentoring network to connect, educate and support practitioners in the mechanical circulatory assist device field. He is also past president of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists’ Minnesota affiliate.

Continuing Education Disclosure Statement

Successful Completion

Learners must attend/view/read the entire activity and complete the associated evaluation to be awarded the contact hours or CERP. No partial credit will be awarded.


This activity has been reviewed by the Nurse Planner. It has been determined that the material presented here shows no bias. Approval of a continuing education activity does not imply endorsement by AACN or ANCC of any commercial products displayed or discussed in conjunction with the activity.


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC's) Commission on Accreditation, ANCC Provider Number 0012 (60 min contact hour). AACN has been approved as a provider of continuing education in nursing by the California State Board of Nursing, California Provider number CEP01036 for 0.6 contact hours (50 min contact hour).

AACN programming meets the standards for most states that require mandatory continuing education contact hours for license and/or certification renewal. AACN recommends consulting with your state board of nursing or credentialing organization before submitting CE to fulfill continuing education requirements.