Cardiac ECMO at Phoenix Children's
The Cardiac ECMO Program is based within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) at Phoenix Children's Hospital. It also can be used during cardiac operations and in the Emergency Room, if needed.
ECMO is considered the last option when treating acute respiratory and heart failure. Currently, cardiac ECMO is considered when a child's heart cannot pump enough to keep him or her alive. While some patients need ECMO before heart surgery, cardiac ECMO is mainly used after conventional cardiopulmonary bypass surgery either because a child cannot be weaned from bypass or because the child experiences clinical decline in the Intensive Care Unit after surgery.
Diagnoses - When Cardiac ECMO is Used:
- Cardiac arrest from any cause
- Toxic drug overdose
- Bridge to transplant
We are proud to offer the latest and advanced technologies available to treat our critically-ill patients.
Cardiac ECMO Selection Guidelines
There are no generally accepted criteria for cardiac ECMO. The decision to proceed with ECMO is usually best made following an evaluation that includes echocardiography to rule out significant left over surgical problems. Development of secondary organ failure from low cardiac output or a sharp decline with cardiac arrest are other gauges for cardiac ECMO.
Many possible complications may occur when a child is treated with ECMO. Criteria have been developed to rule out those patients with symptoms that will worsen once ECMO has been started. Patients with poor quality of life expectancy due to a life-threatening symptom already present may also be ruled out. Your child's doctor can review specific exclusions with you if necessary.
ECMO Referrals / Contact Us
To refer a patient for ECMO, please contact:
For general information, please call Alicia Schmidt or Diane DePietro at