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Pediatric and Neonatal Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)

Established over 4 decades ago, UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital is one of the first hospitals in Southern California to offer Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO). This lifesaving measure provides newborns and children with cardiac or respiratory failure critical support via physicians and experts who specialize in ECMO care.

What is Neonatal ECMO?

ECMO is a form of heart and lung bypass used as an alternate means of life support. With the guidance of our expert pediatric surgeons, catheters are placed into the patient's blood vessels that allow for blood to flow from the patient to the ECMO machine. The ECMO machine then works as the patient's heart and lungs, providing essential oxygen and support that can be adjusted as the patient needs. This life saving measure is temporary and allows for the heart and lungs to rest, giving the patient's body time to heal.

Which Conditions Can ECMO Treat?

Neonates requiring ECMO are cared for in the Neonatal ICU by the ECMO team that consists of neonatologists, pediatric surgeons, cardiologists, and pulmonologists, as well as nurses, perfusionists, respiratory therapists, nutritionists, social workers, and physical therapists trained in neonatal ECMO care. The UCLA ECMO program has a 95% success rate in respiratory conditions and is recognized be the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) as a center of excellence. Our specialists are at the forefront of research on a national and international level and are constantly striving to provide the very best in ECMO care. Every patient treated at UCLA will have outpatient care provided through our high-risk infant follow-up clinic and neurodevelopmental specialists.

Excelling in respiratory management, some of the conditions ECMO can support:

  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)
  • Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS)
  • Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH)
  • Pneumonia and Lung Infections
  • CRRT for Acute Kidney Injury
  • Sepsis