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Cannulation and decannulation techniques for neonatal ECMO.

In neonates with cardiac and/or respiratory failure, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) continues to be an important method of respiratory and/or cardiovascular support where conventional treatments are failing. ECMO cannulation involves a complex decision-making process to choose the proper ECMO modality and cannulation strategy to match each patient's needs, unique anatomy, and potential complication profile. Initially, all ECMO support involved cannulating both the carotid artery and the internal jugular vein (IJV), known as veno-arterial (VA-ECMO) for cardiac and/or respiratory support. Rarely was cannulation through the chest used. The development of dual-lumen cannulae in the early to mid 1990s addressed the concerns about carotid artery ligation and its impact on neurological outcomes, and allowed single vascular access for veno-venous respiratory support (VV-ECMO). We present a review of cannulation and decannulation techniques for both VA and VV-ECMO in neonates.

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