The History of ECMO:

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), sometimes referred to as extracorporeal life support (ECLS) is a therapy used to provide life-sustaining respiratory and/or hemodynamic support. This is achieved by removing circulating blood from the patient's body (extra=outside, corporeal = body.) and passing it through a special device.

An ECMO circuit has many similar characteristics are similar to that of a cardiopulmonary bypass machine, but the duration of ECMO therapy is often on the order of days rather than hours.

The first successful report of the use of ECMO in an adult patient was in 1971 in Santa Barbara, California. The patient was in a motorcycle accident and developed refractory hypoxemia. His ECMO therapy lasted 3 days, and he survived.

As of January 2015, ECMO is provided to over 5000 patients across more than 250 centers worldwide, and these numbers continue to grow every year. For all adults receiving ECMO since 1990, the survival rate to hospital discharge has been about 30-50%.

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