ECMO is the common abbreviation for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, also known as ECLS (extracorporeal life support). ECMO is a highly specialized technique, which is managed by a group of intensive care specialists and ECMO-trained nurses. Colloquially ECMO may be referred to as an artificial heart & lung machine.

The JHH ICU has provided ECMO care since 2012 and now provides this form of support to more than 10 patients per year. The hospital is registered with the international Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) and is renowned in the hunter area for its experience in using ECMO for either cardiac (VA) or respiratory (VV) supports.

A unique character of JHH ICU ECMO program is it's managed by specialized intensive care team. The management, selection of cases, veno-venous & veno-arterial cannulation, priming of circuit, daily management and transport to diagnostic areas are conducted by the specialised ICU team. The ICU maintains a close consultative relationship with the JHH surgical and perfusion services which support the ECMO program.

The ECMO service supports cardiac interventions in Cath Lab such as high risk multivessel interventions and post cardiac arrest cardiogenic shock. The ICU ECMO service provides support to the cardio-thoracic surgical team by managing central VA ECMO support in post cardiac surgery patients.

JHH ICU runs a comprehensive education program based on theoretical and simulation knowledge covering all aspects of ECMO in the adult patient. The ECMO program undergoes regular audit as well as review with other ECMO centres across the state to ensure the highest level of care is maintained for our patients.