ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation)

Information for Referring Physicians

The cardiac and respiratory departments, as well as the mobile ECMO program at Willis-Knighton welcome your referrals. Call (318) 455-0439 to connect to the Cardiogenic Shock/ECMO coordinator, available 24/7.

Please have your patient’s information readily available.  The physician on call will discuss the case with you and will contact the team to assist you in the transfer of your patient to our facility at Willis-Knighton Medical Center or, if needed for the mobile ECMO.

Referral Form

What is ECMO?

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) is a treatment that uses a pump to circulate blood out of the body, through a machine, and back into the bloodstream. This machine does the work your heart and lungs would normally do to support your body when your own organs are too sick to do the job alone. ECMO, pronounced EK-moe, will not heal you. It simply allows your body time to heal on its own.

ECMO can be used to support your body for a variation of time, from days to even weeks. This all depends on how much time is needed for the body to recuperate.

How is ECMO used at WK?

Willis-Knighton offers multiple types of ECMO: Veno-Arterial (VA), Veno-Venous (VV) or Hybrid ECMO.

The ECMO team will decide which type will best assist you based on your condition.

  • Veno-Arterial (VA) ECMO is used for heart support only.
  • Veno-Venous (VV) ECMO is used for lung support only.
  • Hybrid ECMO is a combination of VA and VV ECMO for patients with needs for both cardiac and respiratory support.

Why would I need ECMO?

ECMO supports the circulation and ventilation of blood throughout your body, ensuring your body has enough oxygen, so your heart and/or lungs can heal on their own.

A patient who has heart or lung failure may be placed on ECMO for support.

ECMO can assist with:

  • heart failure, such as Cardiogenic Shock or Cardiomyopathy (heart muscle weakness)
  • lung failure caused by pneumonia, asthma, flu, COVID-19 or ARDS
  • infections that cause organs to shut down, such as sepsis
  • pulmonary embolism

What is Mobile ECMO?

A mobile ECMO team is used when you may be too ill for transportation using standard life support equipment. In this case, our mobile ECMO team initiates ECMO at your current facility with transportation to Willis-Knighton for management. Willis-Knighton has ambulances equipped to support ECMO, as well as helicopter or fixed-wing transport if required.

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