At Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center,
our extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) program provides round the clock
care for newborns, children and adults in cardiac or respiratory failure. Using
advanced life support technology, our skilled team of ECMO experts delivers
treatments that allow the heart and lungs to rest so that they can heal.
ECMO Center of Excellence in the Piedmont Region
As one of only three hospitals in
North Carolina offering ECMO, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is a
distinguished leader in critical care for advanced cardiac conditions. Our team of highly skilled respiratory specialists delivers comprehensive ECMO
programs for newborns, adults and children. In fact, Wake Forest Baptist Medical
Center has twice been awarded the Excellence in Life Support Award from the
Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO). This prestigious award
signifies our commitment to providing exceptional care and designates our
program as a Center of Excellence.
ECMO at Wake Forest
Our ECMO program
provides care for patients in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Brenner Children's Hospital and
the adult Cardiothoracic Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical CenterWe
can support up to five patients at the same time. On average, we care for four
patients per month.
ECMO treatment is
supported by a large team of highly trained specialists including:
- Cardiac surgeons
- Internal medicine
- Intensive care
- Respiratory care
ECMO treatment at Wake Forest have an ECMO specialist at their bedside at all
times, performing minute-to-minute monitoring. These specially trained
respiratory therapists are licensed and registered with years of experience in
intensive care. Our nursing staff and physician assistants, many of whom have
more than three decades of experience, work alongside intensive care physicians
to provide round-the-clock care.
ECMO Treatment: What to Expect
ECMO does not heal diseases that
cause cardiac or respiratory failure. Instead, it supports the circulation and
ventilation of blood throughout your body so that your body can heal itself. The
goal of ECMO treatment is to ensure your body has enough oxygen.
Using a circuit of
highly specialized equipment, ECMO does the work of your lungs and heart:
- We place a large
catheter into your blood vessel.
- Your body pumps
the blood out of your body and into the ECMO machine.
- The machine adds
oxygen to the blood and removes carbon dioxide.
- Blood flows back
into your body with enough pressure to circulate throughout the body.
We repeat this circuit around the
clock, under the careful supervision of our highly skilled ECMO team, until the
body has time to heal itself, or treatment is no longer needed.
While on ECMO, your daily routine
- Chest X-rays
- Measurement of
- Blood samples
taken through the ECMO unit
- Plenty of rest
(certain condition may require a temporary, medically-induced sleep)
- Medications to
prevent infection, regulate the heart and blood pressure, prevent blood
clotting and control pain
- Liquid nutrition
provided through veins or a special feeding tube
As your heart and lungs start to heal,
we will reduce the amount of ECMO support you receive. When
you show signs of getting better, we will temporarily discontinue ECMO. When
your heart and lungs heal enough to support your needs, we permanently
discontinue ECMO. You may remain on a ventilator
for extra support several days or weeks after treatment.
an appointment online. Or, for more
information, please call:
- 336-716-WAKE or