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Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO): What to Expect

Will I be awake or asleep?

Asleep. Your doctor will put the tubes used to take blood from your body and send it to the artificial lung while you are under general anesthesia. In most cases, the tubes are put in the upper part of your chest. They can also be inserted on your thigh near your groin.

Where will I be taken care of?

After you’re hooked up to the artificial lung, you’ll be closely monitored in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Will I be able to walk around?

Some patients who get ECMO are able to do rehabilitation exercises and walk short distances. Other patients must stay in bed.

Who can get ECMO?

Usually, ECMO is used in infants and young children waiting for heart, lung, or heart-lung transplants. However, at Temple, ECMO is also used in adult patients. These patients are very ill and need transplants too. Because of this, the length of time each patient stays on ECMO is different. It depends on when donor organs become available.

Ready for an Appointment?

Find a doctor near you, request an appointment, or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.