In patients on venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for acute respiratory distress syndrome, prone positioning is safe and feasible. Prone positioning appears to improve survival but increases length of stay.
When a patient is placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), usually emergently, families have begun to face the gravity of the situation. Suddenly, ECMO offers new hope. Even though the primary team explains ECMO will be a time-limited trial and a bridge to recovery, transplant, or device, many families remain focused only on the possibility of hope.
Ethicists are seeing increasing numbers of consults involving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), the most aggressive life-sustaining technology available. With ECMO, which is currently offered by about 250 U.S. hospitals, some patients are saved who would otherwise die.
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) can be lifesaving in selected patients, albeit with a high rate of complications and some long-term effects. Awareness of this therapy and an understanding of potential candidates is the purpose of this article.