Extracorporeal Life Support Service (ECMO)

Neonatal and Pediatric Care

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is most often used with infants who are critically ill with breathing or heart problems, though the life support can also be used with adolescents and adults.

ECMO allows the lungs and/or heart to rest and recover. ECMO provides the patient with enough oxygen to survive and is often a last resort when all other respiratory therapies have been exhausted. Most patients who receive ECMO would die if it were not used. Unlike a heart-lung machine, which is used for only a few hours during surgery on the heart and/or lungs, ECMO can support life for a period of several days to weeks.

For neonatal and pediatric patients, ECMO is versatile and can be used in many cases such as:

  • Underdeveloped lungs from congenital malformations
  • Near-drownings
  • Sepsis
  • Pneumonia
  • Respiratory distress syndrome
  • Air leak syndrome
  • Idiopathic pulmonary hypertension

Hasbro Children's Hospital is one of the busiest pediatric centers in New England, and the first hospital in Rhode Island to welcome ECMO, in collaboration with the department of neonatal-perinatal medicine at Women & Infants Hospital. This technology was first used at the hospital in February 2010 to treat a newborn. 

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