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The role of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in COVID-19.


An extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) program is an important component in the management of patients with COVID-19, but it is imperative to implement a system that is well-supported by the institution and staffed with well-trained clinicians to both optimize patient outcomes and to keep providers safe. There are many unknowns related to COVID-19, and one of the most challenging aspects for clinicians is the lack of predictive knowledge as to why some patients fail medical therapy and require advanced support such as ECMO. These factors can create challenges during a time of resource scarcity and interruptions in the supply chain. In the current environment, in which resources are limited and an ongoing pandemic, healthcare practitioners need to focus on evidence-based best practice for supportive care of patients with COVID-19 in refractory respiratory or cardiac failure. with As experience is gained, a greater understanding will develop in this cohort of patients regarding need and timing of ECMO. As this pandemic continues, it will be important to compile and analyze multicentered data pertaining to patient-specific outcomes to help guide clinicians caring for patients with COVID-19 undergoing ECMO support. In this paper, the authors demonstrate the strategies utilized by a major quaternary care center in the utilization and management of ECMO for patients with COVID-19.

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