Inside Med Flight: caring for COVID patients using ECMO therapy

Caring for COVID patients sometimes requires emergency transport for more intense therapies. Being able to bring ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) therapy to patients has provided hope for many during the pandemic. UW Med Flight physician Dr. Ryan Thompson shares the immediate impact he saw on one patient’s health—truly a game-changer.

ECMO therapy is a treatment that uses a pump to circulate blood through an artificial lung back into the bloodstream of a very ill patient. This system provides heart-lung bypass support outside of a patient’s body when a severe and life-threatening illness stops their heart and/or lungs from working properly.

It is not common to have ECMO protocol on helicopter EMS; the remarkable innovation at UW Health allows providers to offer the highest standards of patient care in the nation.

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