Tests Before ECMO Placement
Some of the tests that may be ordered before ECMO placement include:
- Head ultrasound
- Chest X-ray: to inspect the lungs and the location of tubes in the chest
- Blood gases (ABG): to check the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood
- Echocardiogram: an ultrasound to check heart function
- Activated clotting time (ACT) to check how long it takes blood to clot
How Is a Patient Placed on ECMO?
ECMO requires patient consent. With consent, a surgeon, along with an operating room team, will place the tubes.
- In VA ECMO, one tube will be placed in a large vein and another in an artery.
- In VV ECMO, a double tube is placed in a large vein.
These tubes are hooked to the ECMO machine. An X-ray will be taken to make sure the tubes are in the right place. The patient will remain on the ventilator to make it easier to remove fluids from the lungs and to give small breaths to keep the lungs working and help them heal.