Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation for Treating Severe Cardiac and Respiratory Disease in Adults: Part 1—Overview of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation

      EXTRACORPOREAL MEMBRANE OXYGENATION (ECMO) is mechanical support of the lungs and/or heart for a period of days to weeks by a modified heart-lung machine. There are 2 basic types of ECMO: venovenous (VV), which provides support for the lungs only, and venoarterial (VA), which provides support for both the heart and the lungs. VV ECMO is primarily used for treating severe but potentially reversible respiratory failure, and VA ECMO is primarily used for treating severe cardiac or cardiorespiratory failure. Because VA ECMO may be used as a bridge to a longer form of mechanical support or to a heart transplant, the underlying cause of the cardiac failure need not necessarily be reversible.

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