Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)
A technologically complicated and somewhat risky procedure performed on patients with extremely serious respiratory problems. Basically, one or two large tubes are placed in the blood vessels of the neck, and the blood returning to the heart is suctioned out and pumped through an artificial lung. The blood is then returned to the baby’s body. Although there are significant risks, this therapy is successful about 75% of the time, in saving the life of the patient. This therapy is not used for most premature infants because the risk of side effects and complications is so high in premature born infants.
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