What is ECMO?

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, is a therapy that adds oxygen to a patient’s blood and pumps it through their body. The process takes place outside the body, hence the term “extracorporeal”.

There are two types of ECMO: VA (venous-artery) and VV (venous-venous). VA ECMO is used for cardiac bypass while VV ECMO is typically used for respiratory bypass. ECMO is like a heart-lung machine that temporarily takes over the work of the heart and lungs so they can rest and heal, such as after surgery or injury, or to sustain the patient until transplant.

Find out how ECMO works, how it got started and more: