[Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation : Principles and medical indications]

S David, L C Napp, C Kühn, M M Hoeper
Der Internist 2016, 57 (9): 856-63
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a special form of a miniaturized heart-lung machine with the ultimate goal to stabilize critically ill patients. Dependent on the cannulation strategy ECMO can support or replace heart and/or lung function. Medical indications and contraindications have to be evaluated thoroughly before cannulation. Moreover, before ECMO initiation a solid treatment aim has to be defined: bridge to recovery, bridge to decision, bridge to transplantation, and bridge to destination (i. e. implantation of a permanent assist device). Regarding invasiveness of the system, potential life-threatening complications, requirement of standardized monitoring of the patient and the device as well as tertiary care infrastructure, ECMO should exclusively be used in highly experienced tertiary centers.

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