ECMO Glossary of Terms
At Phoenix Children's Hospital, we are committed to your child's care. While your child is on ECMO, you will interact with any combination of these specialized medical professionals.
Neonatologist or intensivist: A pediatrician who specializes in the care of very sick babies or children, who is the primary doctor for your child. These physicians have received special training in the management of the ECMO machine and patient.
Pediatric surgeon: A surgeon who specializes in surgery performed on children, who places and removes the cannulas needed for ECMO. The surgery takes place in the ICU.
ECMO primer: An intensive care nurse or respiratory therapist educated in the functioning of the ECMO machine. The primer prepares the machine and circuit and helps the surgeon and physician in placing your child on ECMO. In the event there are problems while your child is on ECMO, the primer works with the ECMO specialist to correct the problem.
ECMO specialist: An intensive care nurse or respiratory therapist trained in the management and operation of the ECMO machine. He is always at the bedside taking care of your child.
ICU nurse and respiratory therapist: Specially educated to take care of very sick babies and children, they also are at the bedside providing care to your child. There is also a primary nurse who will be helping to manage your child's individual needs.
Social worker: The social worker is educated to help families cope with the feelings and experience of having a child in the hospital. The social worker can also assist you with any arrangements you may need.
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO): This is a special technique for babies and young children with respiratory disease that does not respond to maximum medical care. With ECMO, blood from a vein is pumped through an artificial lung where oxygen is added and carbon dioxide is removed. The blood is then returned back to the baby/child. ECMO is only used in specialized NICUs and PICUs.
ECMO Referrals / Contact Us
To refer a patient for ECMO, please contact:
For general information, please call Alicia Schmidt or Diane DePietro at