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, NICU and cardiovascular ICU) 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 2019, the ECMO team cared for a total of 67 patients for a total of 71 ECMO runs – eight more than in 2018 and a new record for the institution, with outcomes that exceed international averages. As of July 1, 2020, we have treated 36 patients with very similar results.
In 2018, Texas Children’s Hospital 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. We are expecting to renew our application to ELSO in 2021, seeking designation as a Platinum Level Center of Excellence.
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. The inaugural fellow had an immersive experience in both pediatric and adult ECMO, with extensive ECMO transport experience. She provided outstanding leadership both within the institution and outside our walls during her adult ECMO rotations. More information about the program’s mission, curriculum and application process can be found under the ECMO Fellowship tab.
In addition to the clinical service, faculty from Texas Children’s 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.