ECMO TransportFor pediatric patients on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) at outside hospitals, St. Louis Children’s Hospital offers ECMO Transport Service. Patients with complex cardiac conditions and advanced lung disease requiring specialized care at St. Louis Children’s Hospital now 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, medical director, Transport Service. “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.”

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.  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. 

Transport Evaluation

Direct access to the ECMO Transport Service is available day or night via Children’s Direct at 800.678.HELP (4357). The referral staff will connect a referring physician with the ECMO Transport medical director who will activate the team upon acceptance of the patient.  Due to the high risk involved in transfer, patients must meet certain criteria for transport, and this evaluation may take 24 to 48 hours. 

To learn more about the ECMO transport program or to speak with a member of the ECMO team, please call at 800.678.HELP (4357).

This service was made possible by a generous donor to the St. Louis Children's Hospital Foundation.

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