ECMO Referrals

ECMO patient selection and their subsequent referral and transport are closely associated with outcome.  In most cases, deteriorating oxygenation will respond to increasing ventilatory support, but the time course of progression toward respiratory failure in these critically-ill patients is unpredictable.  Severe cases may progress rapidly to life-threatening hypoxia which is refractory to conventional measures.  To decrease the risk of death prior to transport, ECMO should be considered as a treatment modality prior to meeting ECMO criteria.