ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation)
Texas Children’s Hospital has one of the busiest and most successful ECMO programs in the world. It is available to patients in all critical care settings (PICU, CICU and NICU) within the hospital. And in partnership with the Kangaroo Crew transport team, it is also available to qualified patients outside the walls of Texas Children’s Hospital. In some cases, patients already on ECMO at a referring hospital but needing further care at Texas Children’s are transported on ECMO by ground or air. When a patient is too sick to risk a transfer off ECMO, the ECMO service will come to the referring hospital, place the patient on ECMO first, and then transport that patient on ECMO back to Texas Children’s Hospital.
In 2020, the ECMO team cared for a total of 80 patients for a total of 90 ECMO runs: 13 more patients and 15 more runs than in 2019 and a new record for the institution with outcomes that exceed international averages. This year, as of July 1, we have treated 35 patients with 36 runs, with very similar results.
In 2018, our center was designated a Center of Excellence at the Gold Level (up from Silver the year before) by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO), an international body of ECMO Centers dedicated to advancing quality, education and research in ECMO throughout the world. This year after submitting an extensive application, ELSO notified us of our re- designation as a Center of Excellence, but this time at the Platinum level. This is the highest level conceded by ELSO and one held by only a couple dozen ECMO centers worldwide.
For the academic year 2019-20, we inaugurated a 1-year ECMO “Fellowship” program and successfully recruited the first pediatric subspecialist to this training program. WE have had a second “fellow” complete the program, and our 3rd fellow has just begun her 1-year stint. The inaugural fellows had immersive experiences in both pediatric and adult ECMO, with extensive ECMO transport experience and provided outstanding leadership both within the institution and outside our walls during their adult ECMO rotations. We describe that program and its mission, objectives, the application process and curriculum under the ECMO “Fellowship” tab.
In addition to the clinical service, faculty from Texas Children’s Hospital ECMO team maintain active research and teaching programs, and have been active in developing novel curricula, in Spanish, to train new teams developing ECMO programs in Latin America.