Transport Team Expands Services to Accommodate Maternal Fetal and ECMO Patients
In November, the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Transport Team launched two new transport services to accommodate pregnant women requiring specialized services at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and pediatric patients on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO).
Maternal Fetal Transport
Pregnant women requiring specialized transport now have immediate access to the care they need. The new Maternal Fetal Transport service, a joint effort between Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, offers a level of care unavailable through other regional transport programs.
The service is designed to provide patients with safe, specialized maternal-fetal transport and to offer referring providers and hospitals easy activation through the service’s call center. When a hospital or provider calls the Maternal Fetal Transport Call Center, a member of the referral staff contacts a Maternal Fetal Transport OB medical control specialist, who will activate the transport team upon acceptance of the patient. The referral team selects the appropriate mode of transportation based on patient condition, weather and the patient’s location, and the referral staff member managing the recorded call facilitates transfer to the hospital and admission of the patient.
Each dispatched transport team includes a Barnes-Jewish Hospital high-risk obstetrical nurse, a Children’s Hospital neonate-trained nurse in the event of delivery and a Children’s Hospital paramedic. Transport is provided by ground or air via one of three mobile intensive care units (MICUs), the KidsFlight 1 and 2 helicopters, and KidsFlight 3, a fixed-wing aircraft dedicated to transporting maternal fetal patients and critically ill newborns and children.
ECMO Transport. Patients with complex cardiac conditions and advanced lung disease requiring specialized care at Children’s Hospital have an option for transport with a specially trained ECMO team and mobile ECMO circuit.
The ECMO Transport Team includes a critical care physician, perfusionist and critical care transport nurse along with CARDIOHELP, an FDA-approved, 22 pound ECMO circuit to support a patient’s cardio-pulmonary needs. The compact and portable CARDIOHELP monitors critical blood parameters, including venous oxygen saturation, hemoglobin, hematocrit and arterial and venous circuit line pressures.
“As a leading transplant center, the hospital’s respiratory and heart failure population has substantially increased, along with growing numbers of patients on ventricular assist devices and paracorporeal lung assist devices,” said Celeste Capers, MD, Washington University physician and medical director, Transport Service at SLCH. “Patients like these may require ECMO prior to definitive care, and currently only a handful of centers across the country provide pediatric ECMO transport. This device is a tremendous addition to the hospital’s long-standing ECMO program.”
A 6-day-old baby from Kansas was the first to travel to St. Louis Children’s Hospital using this new service. A physician, two nurses and a perfusionist accompanied the newborn on the fixed-wing flight from Kansas City to St. Louis on Saturday, November 17.
More than 50 ECMO specialists staff the hospital’s high-volume ECMO Program, including five perfusionists. Awarded the Center of Excellence Award from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization, the hospital provides five neonatal-infant ECMO circuits and two adult ECMO circuits in addition to the CARDIOHELP system. Washington University physicians Pirooz Eghtesady, MD, PhD, co-director, Heart Center, and Brad Warner, MD, surgeon-in-chief, serve as co-medical directors of the ECMO Program.
Developing the ECMO transport service supports St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s commitment to provide advanced care to the most critically ill children. The service fills a need in the region, as no other pediatric-trained ECMO transport provider is available.
This service was made possible by a generous donor to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation.