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ECMO Program at Arkansas Children’s Hospital Recognized Internationally for Excellence in Life Support

LITTLE ROCK, AR (Nov. 5, 2007) -- Arkansas Children’s Hospital’s (ACH) ECMO program recently received the Excellence in Life Support Award from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO).  ELSO is an international organization of centers that offer Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO).  ECMO is a cardio-respiratory support system that can be used in critical care situations when a patient’s heart or lungs are failing with such severity that typical intensive care support is not adequate to keep the patient alive.  ECMO essentially provides long-term heart/ lung bypass, taking the work off the heart and lungs.

The ECMO program at Arkansas Children’s Hospital is one of the busier programs in the United States, supporting approximately 40 patients yearly and operating a mobile ECMO unit, one of only three mobile systems in the country. Mobile ECMO systems allow the transport of critically ill patients, either by air or ground, while the patient is on ECMO bypass. 

Arkansas Children’s Hospital was awarded the Excellence in Life Support Award for its exceptional commitment to providing a quality ECMO program, staff training, continuing education and ongoing clinical research. 

“This award is a tremendous honor and reflects many years of hard work by a very large number of people. The strength of our program would not be possible without the broad, on-going support we receive from Arkansas Children’s Hospital,” says Richard T. Fiser, M.D., FAAP, co-medical director of the ECMO program at ACH. Fiser also is an associate professor of Pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine. Among those who are credited with developing the ECMO program at ACH include Bonnie Taylor, M.D., a neonatologist who now serves as hospital medical director. The ECMO program at Arkansas Children’s began in 1989 and is one of the older programs in the nation.

“Our ECMO team continually strives to better serve the needs of the most critically ill infants and children across our state and region,” says Fiser.  Upcoming initiatives by the ACH program include further development of the capability to provide Extracorporeal Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (ECPR), the ability to put a child on ECMO during cardiac arrest; the development of Web-based educational material for parents; and the use of high-technology simulation at the ACH PULSE (Pediatric Understanding and Learning Through Simulation Education) Center to enhance team training in the care of ECMO patients.

Arkansas Children's Hospital, recently named one of the nation’s best hospitals for pediatric care two years in a row by U.S. News & World Report, is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the largest in the United States serving children from birth to age 21. The campus spans 28 city blocks and houses 292 beds, a staff of approximately 500 physicians, 80 residents in pediatrics and pediatric specialties and more than 3,990 employees. The private, nonprofit healthcare facility boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking medical research - all dedicated to fulfilling our mission of enhancing, sustaining and restoring children’s health and development. For more information, visit

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,538 students and 733 medical residents. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with about 9,600 employees, including nearly 1,000 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $5 billion a year. For more information, visit


About Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO)
ELSO is a consortium of health care professionals and scientists dedicated to the development and evaluation of novel therapies for support of failing organ systems. The organization promotes ongoing research into the most effective treatment methods by maintaining a registry of patients receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and providing educational programs for member centers and the broader medical and lay communities. More than 115 international ECMO centers are members of ELSO, which is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Angel One Dispatch / 1-800-ACH-HELP

Ask to speak to the pediatric intensivist, cardiac intensivist or neonatologist on call, depending on the age of the child and primary problem.

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