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Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation - ECMO

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Lifesaving treatment for the most critically ill babies: Children’s Minnesota’s award-winning ECMO program

We talked with Dr. Lia Gravari, associate medical director of ECMO for the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Children’s Minnesota, about ECMO, how it helps save babies and the award-winning ECMO program at Children’s Minnesota.

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For Health Professionals

Our ECMO team is available 24 hours a day for professional consultation, patient transport and provision of ECMO. For neonatal referrals, call 612-813-6295. For pediatric referrals, call 612-813-6266. Read more about our ECMO services:

Meet the team

The ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) team at Children's has decades of experience treating the sickest babies, children and teens. During your child's ECMO treatment, we take many steps to promote healing and prevent complications. These steps include using multiple pieces of monitoring equipment; performing blood tests and X-rays; and, in most cases, giving medication that prevents blood clotting. We'll keep you informed every step of the way, and we always welcome your involvement and questions.

Conditions and Services

If your child's heart and lungs aren't working, the first treatments typically include medicines and a ventilator — a machine to help your child breathe, which is connected to a breathing tube placed in your child's windpipe. Sometimes, however, those treatments alone aren't enough. That's when ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) may be considered, depending on your child's health and needs.

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation

ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) is a lifesaving treatment for the most critically ill babies, children and teens. When your child's heart or lungs are unable to do their jobs, ECMO can take over temporarily with a mechanical blood pump and artificial lung. The treatment keeps blood flowing and carrying vital oxygen while your child's body has a chance to recover.