Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) - in the treatment of severe, life-threatening respiratory failure.Wiad Lek. 2019; 72(9 cz 2):1822-1828.WL
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a technique involving oxygenation of blood and elimination of carbon dioxide in patients with life-threatening, but potentially reversible conditions. Thanks to the modification of extracorporeal circulation used during cardiac surgeries, this technique can be used in intensive care units. Venovenous ECMO is used as a respiratory support, while venoarterial ECMO as a cardiac and/or respiratory support. ECMO does not cure the heart and/or lungs, but it gives the patient a chance to survive a period when these organs are inefficient. In addition, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation reduces or eliminates the risk of lung damage associated with invasive mechanical ventilation in patients with severe ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome). ECMO is a very invasive therapy, therefore it should only be used in patients with extremely severe respiratory failure, who failed to respond to conventional therapies. According to the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) Guidelines, inclusion criteria are: PaO2 / FiO2 < 80 for at least 3 hours or pH < 7.25 for at least 3 hours. Proper ECMO management requires advanced medical care. This article discusses the history of ECMO development, clinical indications, contraindications, clinical complications and treatment outcomes.