How many of us had heard about Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) before Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister late J Jayalalithaa was put on it for recovery? Hardly a handful. Patients who are placed on the device have 50-50 chance of survival and while it could not help the late Chief Minister, her condition put a spotlight on ECMO.
What is ECMO?
ECMO is a life support device that is put in place when a patient’s heart and lungs stop functioning completely post a cardiac arrest. When the patient does not respond to Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), the patient is put on ECMO.
Function of ECMO
The core function of the device is to separate carbon dioxide from the blood and add oxygen into it. It takes the load off from heart and lungs, providing critical time to the body organs for its treatment and recovery.
Patients are only put on ECMO, if there is a chance that the condition can be reversed.