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Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation

ECMO Physiology

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There are two types of ECMO:

Venous Arterial (VA) ECMO
Venous Venous (VV) ECMO

In VA ECMO, a catheter is placed in the vein on the right side of the neck which removes un-oxygenated blood from the body. A second catheter is placed in the artery on the right side of the neck which returns oxygenated blood from the ECMO circuit to the body.

In VV ECMO, a single catheter is placed in a vein. VV ECMO only provides support for the lungs, whereas VA provides support to the heart and the lung.

ECMO blood flow is maintained at a sufficient rate to adequately perfuse the patient and allow "rest" of the heart and lungs. In most infants, this can be achieved at flows of 80% of the required cardiac output.

ECMO is also maintained at a level such that adequate oxygen delivery is achieved for patient needs. These oxygenation needs may change from time to time, depending on the patient's condition.


Additional Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Resources
Miami Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
Extracorporeal Life Support Program
- What is ECMO?
- History of ECMO
- Candidates for ECMO
- Physiology
- Weaning
- ECMO Complications
- Apheresis
LifeFlight
Rapid Response Team
Meet the PCCM Team