Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) is an advanced technology that acts as a child’s heart and lungs to support a child who is recovering from surgery or disease, or during a surgical procedure.

ECMO is similar to heart-lung bypass machines used during open-heart surgery. While a child is on ECMO, blood gets oxygenated, by an artificial lung, and gets delivered to the whole body, using an external mechanical pump.  The machine maintains the blood flow and oxygenation to the body's vital organs while the child recovers, by allowing the heart and lungs to "rest" over several days to weeks.

The University of Michigan has a long tradition of being leaders in the creation of ECMO and the use of ECMO for children and adults.  We have cared for more than 2,000 patients on ECMO since its inception here in 1985.  Today, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is still the national leader in the application and successful utilization of ECMO on pediatric patients.

Children throughout Michigan, as well as, other states and even internationally, are referred to Mott Children’s Hospital for our ECMO expertise.  U-M's Survival Flight air and ambulance service offers dedicated staff trained and equipped to transport patients on and for ECMO.

Our unparalleled experience providing ECMO therapies to children has resulted in a track record of minimizing complications and exceeding national average survival rates for children requiring ECMO support for a wide range of conditions and procedures.

The ECMO team at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is dedicated to supporting our patients and their families.  When you have a loved one on ECMO, it can be a very stressful time for everyone.