ECMO are the initials which stand for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.
ECMO uses a heart-lung machine similar to the machine used in
open-heart surgery. There are two types of ECMO. Venoarterial (VA) ECMO
uses an artery and a vein. Venovenous (VV) ECMO uses one or two veins.
The doctor will decide which one your child needs. Special plastic tubes
(cannulas) are inserted into the large blood vessels in the neck and/or
groin by the surgeon.
The ECMO machine does the work for your child’s lungs (VV ECMO)
and heart (VA ECMO), which allows them time to rest and heal. During the
time your child is on ECMO, he/she will still be connected to the
breathing machine, also known as the ventilator. The ventilator is used
to prevent the lungs from collapsing. At the beginning of ECMO, the ECMO
machine does most of the work for their lungs (VV ECMO) and heart (VA
ECMO). Even though your child will seem to be much better, it is
important to remember that the ECMO machine is doing the work the lungs
and/or heart cannot do
To see how they are doing, a small amount of blood will be drawn
from your child’s special IV, called an arterial line. This test (a
blood gas) will check to see how much oxygen is present in the blood.