Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Program

ECMO is life-saving support for the most severe forms of acute heart and/or lung failure. ECMO uses a pump to pump blood out of the body and through an artificial lung to receive oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. This supports the work of the failing lungs. The pump provides enough blood flow to support the workload of a failing heart. ECMO itself does not heal any diseases that cause heart or lung failure, but the goal of ECMO is to support the body's needs so that healing can occur through the use of other therapies.The extracorporeal life support (ECLS) program at Arkansas Children's Hospital is one of the most advanced in the nation. The ECLS program incorporates cutting edge technology with the highest level of teamwork to provide life-saving support for the most critically ill children. At Arkansas Children's Hospital, ECLS includes the use of both ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) and VAD (ventricular assist device) support. Since the inception of the program in 1989, ECLS at Arkansas Children's Hospital has contributed to life-saving care for hundreds of patients.

Care Provided:

  • Support to approximately 50 patients annually with severe cardiac and/or respiratory failure
  • Provides ECMO support to patients from around the state and region
  • Rate of survival to hospital discharge equals or exceeds the average rate reported from all centers participating in the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization registry
  • Rate of survival of patients transported to ACH on ECMO support equals or exceeds ELSO survival rates and “in-house” survival rates

About ACH ECMO Transport

Among the national and international ECMO centers, ACH has one of the largest experiences to offer air transport of critically ill patients on an ECMO circuit. Mobile ECMO features include:

  • Helicopter Transport (two Sikorsky S-76 C+ aircraft)
  • Jet Transport (ACH has fixed wing aircraft available for longer distances through local vendors)
  • Ground Ambulance (three ground ambulances include ability to transport two isolettes, Mobile ECMO and more)

For ECMO support referrals, call 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.