Life-Saving ECMO Machine


“We are able to deliver an advanced therapy which replaces the function of the heart and lungs in a patient whose organs are failing,” says Dr. Peyman Benharash, associate professor of surgery and bioengineering and director of the adult extracorporeal membrane oxygenation program at UCLA. “The ECMO machine allows the other organs to stay alive and function, including the brain, until one of two things happen. Either the patients failing organs recover on their own, or they end up getting a transplant. The ECMO machine has been around since 1970, but in recent times more of these very sick patients are surviving because of better machines, better expertise and earlier deployment. We can also now connect the patient to the machine without having to do a major operation.”