Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Cannulation

  • Luke Wiggins
  • Amy Hackmann


  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a system where an external circuit carries venous blood from the patient to a gas-exchange device (oxygenator), which enriches the blood with oxygen and removes carbon dioxide and returns it to the patient circulation.

  • ECMO is a well-established adjunct therapy in the pediatric and adult population with life-threatening cardiac or pulmonary failure, not responding to standard therapy.

  • There are two modes of ECMO: venovenous (VV) and venoarterial (VA).

  • The mode of ECMO is named for the vascular site of the access and return cannula. The access cannula drains blood from the venous system into the ECMO circuit. The return cannula returns the oxygenated blood back to the patient. There are different types of access and return cannulas.

  • VV ECMO is used for support in refractory respiratory failure and VA ECMO for refractory cardiac failure.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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