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ECMO Program

The Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital Pediatric Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Program provides treatment for life-threatening heart or lung failure that does not respond to more conventional therapies. Yale established the first pediatric ECMO program in New England outside of Boston in 1992.

The program treats newborns, infants and children up to 18 years old who suffer from a wide variety of medical problems. ECMO is used to provide respiratory support for conditions such as meconium aspiration, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, pneumonia, and pulmonary hypertension. ECMO is used to provide cardiac support for conditions such as congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathy, myocarditis, and heart failure around the time of cardiac surgery. Patients remain on this treatment for days or weeks until, in most cases, recovery occurs.

The Yale ECMO program is an active member of the international Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO). Yale’s ECMO outcomes match those of much larger centers reporting data to ELSO. In fact, Yale’s Pediatric ECMO Program has been recognized by ELSO as a “Center of Excellence” continuously since 2010.

Caring for patients on ECMO requires close collaboration between specially trained nurses, advanced practice providers, and physicians, as well as perfusionists and respiratory therapists. The Yale Pediatric ECMO program has a rigorous educational and training program, which includes the use of advanced simulation. The program is supported by multiple pediatric subspecialists, including pediatric general and cardiothoracic surgeons, radiologists, cardiologists, pulmonologists, neurologists, and hematologists, among others. Neonates treated with ECMO are followed in the GRAD (Great Results after Discharge) Clinic after being discharged from the hospital.

A neonatologist who specializes in ECMO is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and can be reached for referrals or questions through the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at 203-688-2318.