Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)

ECMO device in use. ECMO is a temporary – often lifesaving – device to support a patient with severe pulmonary and/or cardiac failure. This could result from severe pneumonia or a congenital defect leading to cardio-pulmonary insufficiency.

ECMO is also sometimes used to support a child recovering from complex cardiac surgery. With careful monitoring, ECMO support can be tailored to the child’s individual needs.

Our program maintains 24-hour ECMO availability with rapid deployment for emergent use in life-threatening situations.


Gold medal award. Successful management of these critically ill patients requires a team approach that involves specialized nurses, perfusionists, intensivists, cardiologists and surgeons.

Our team approach has enabled Children’s Hospital of Illinois to maintain its unique status in the Midwest region as an ELSO Center of Excellence for the use of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) since 2009.