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Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation - ECMO

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Owen leaning against fence

Owen’s heart thrives despite congenital diagnosis

A congenital heart defect diagnosis won't slow Owen down.

For Health Professionals

Families: When your child needs us most, Children's provides expert medical care with an unsurpassed sense of caring. ECMO is provided in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and the cardiovascular care center (CVCC) at Children's – Minneapolis.

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.