Neonatal ECMO at Phoenix Children's
The Neonatal ECMO Program is based within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Here, extracorporeal life support (a.k.a. ECMO) is provided to neonates—children newborn to a maximum age of 28 days old. Because use of ECMO can be risky, it is reserved to treat only infants whose other less invasive, less risky therapies have failed.
Diagnoses - When Neonatal ECMO is Used:
ECMO was originally reserved for patients who were predicted to have only a 20 percent chance of survival. In general, an infant has better chances of surviving if identified for ECMO therapy early.
The most likely ECMO candidates are term to near-term infants with respiratory failure secondary to:
- Meconium aspiration syndrome
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension
- Neonatal sepsis/pneumonia
- Respiratory distress syndrome
- Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
- Severe primary and/or secondary cardiac dysfunction which is life threatening and unresponsive to other available measures
ECMO Selection Guidelines
Current selection guidelines at Phoenix Children's includes, but is not limited to:
- Gestational age of at least 34 weeks
- Birth weight at least at 4.4 lbs.
- 10 or fewer days of mechanical ventilation
- No severe underlying non-pulmonary disease
- Down's syndrome does not automatically rule out ECMO. Each patient must be considered individually and meet all inclusion conditions without meeting specific exclusion conditions
- Cranial ultrasound with no evidence of intracranial bleeding within a specific range
- No evidence of severe brain injury
- No evidence of uncontrolled bleeding or known major bleeding diathesis
ECMO Referrals / Contact Us
To refer a patient for ECMO, please contact:
For general information, please call Alicia Schmidt or Diane DePietro at