Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is mechanical circulatory and respiratory assistance and offers an alternative to cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) for certain thoracic procedures including lung transplantation.
Veno-venous (VV) ECMO offers respiratory support and veno-arterial (VA) ECMO respiratory and hemodynamic assistance. Both are able to assist during hours, days or weeks. Due to its ability to remove CO2 and oxygenate, VV ECMO is the principal system used in thoracic surgery.
Airway surgery (tracheal resection, bronchial resection), advanced thoracic tumors resections, thoracic emergencies, difficult or impossible one lung ventilation, lung transplantation, and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are the scenarios where ECMO has a crucial role.
In the perioperative course ECMO can offer time and support for pulmonary recovery (bridge to recovery), to transplantation (bridge to transplantation), to other devices or configuration (bridge to bridge) or to decision making (bridge to decision).
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