Is your family member suffering from a heart or lungs failure? Is there a newborn with severe lung or respiratory problems? Do you need to transfer them to the hospital? Not every ambulance can offer therapy for seriously ill patients. At ICATT air ambulance, we can take your child to a hospital where they can get the best care. If your child is in a critical condition, then the body’s oxygen supply is not guaranteed, and they will need a machine called ECMO – Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, during transport.

If your child is seriously ill and if they require ECMO support in a medical/surgical intensive care unit, then the experience is exhausting. The following blog will help many parents to understand ECMO better. If you have any questions or concerns, the ICATT ECMO air ambulance team is available 24/7 to discuss every aspect of childcare. ICATT ECMO team is available 24/7 throughout your child’s ECMO requirements. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions about any aspect of parenting. This article helps you to understand what ECMO is and how it works. 

What is an ECMO?

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An ECMO machine is similar to a heart bypass machine used in open-heart surgery. It replaces the function of the heart and lungs. It pumps and oxidizes the patient’s blood outside the body so that the heart and lungs can rest. When connected to an ECMO, blood passes through a tube to an artificial lung in a machine that adds oxygen and removes carbon dioxide. The blood is then warmed to body temperature and pumped back into your body.

There are two types of ECMO:

The ICATT air ambulance uses portable ECMO devices that are light enough for one person and can be transported by air ambulance.

When to use an ECMO:

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How does the ECMO engine work?

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The ECMO machine is connected to the patient via a plastic tube (cannula). Tubes are placed in large veins and arteries in the neck, chest, and legs. The process by which a doctor places these tubes in a patient is called cannulation. The ECMO machine pumps blood from the patient’s body to an artificial lung (oxygenator) which adds oxygen and removes carbon dioxide. In this way, it replaces the function of the lungs itself. The ECMO machine then sends blood back to the patient through a pump with the same power as the heart and replaces its function. Someone who operates the ECMO machine is known as a perfusionist. A perfusionist can operate it, or an advanced respiratory therapist called an ECMO specialist available in ICATT air ambulance. The perfusionist or ECMO specialist adjusts the machine settings to provide the patient with the necessary cardiac and pulmonary support.

How are patients monitored on the ECMO machine in an air ambulance?

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Every patient connected to the ECMO machine is also connected to a monitor in the air ambulance. This monitor measures heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen level. Very often, ECMO patients require blood tests to measure oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.

Blood gases are also monitored. ECMO patients are also given drugs to thin the blood, so it doesn’t clot. This way, the blood is often tested to make sure it is runny enough. The patient health team members of air ambulance use these results to determine how well the ECMO machine is helping the patient and make changes if necessary.


The ICATT Air ambulance ECMO team is available 24/7 during your travel to hospital and requires ECMO. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions about any aspect of ECMO. Nurses, experienced doctors and staff are also available in ICATT air Ambulance for more information contact ICATT air ambulance at +91-9701111156

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