Devices and monitoring during neonatal ECMO: Su rvey results

Patricia L. Allison, Mark Kurusz, Donna F. Graves, Joseph B. Zwischenberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


A survey of active ECMO centres regarding neonatal ECMO equipment and personnel was obtained by telephone interview in late summer 1989. Forty-seven of the centres in the USA listed in the Ann Arbor ELSO (Extracorporeal Life Support Organization) Registry at the time (>90%) were contacted and all participated. Nearly all use a roller pump, while less than 5% use a centrifugal pump. All programmes use a SciMed membrane oxygenator and 91 % a SciMed heat exchanger. Heat exchanger water sources include the Gaymar T-pump (42%), Seabrook (25%) and Cincinnati Sub-Zero (23%) units. Eighty-seven per cent use a bladder box servo-regulated to the roller pump; these are most often custom-made (69%) but 13% of programmes use a commercially available (Seabrook) bladder box. Ten per cent use a pressure-regulated roller pump rather than a conventional (displacement) bladder box to detect decreases in venous return. Nearly 80% monitor circuit line pressures between the pump and patient. Seventeen per cent use an air bubble detector on the arterial side of the circuit. Only 10% use an arterial bubble trap and 6% an arterial line filter. Seventy-five per cent do not monitor gas line pressures into the membrane lung, but one-third do use a gas line pop-off valve to prevent elevated gas phase pressures. Seventy per cent reported use of continuous in-line measurement of mixed venous oxygen saturation; no programme reported any blood chemistries being monitored in line. About 50% use an oxygen analyser for the oxygenator sweep gas and one-fifth use a blood flow meter. Fifty per cent monitor blood temperature in the circuit. Seventy-two per cent monitor activated clotting times with a Hemochron device, 21 % with a Trimed ACTester and 4% with a Hemotec ACT. The background of ECMO specialists was primarily registered nurses, but many programmes also use respiratory therapists and perfusionists. These data may provide guidance for new programmes and suggest technological improvements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-201
Number of pages9
JournalPerfusion (United Kingdom)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Safety Research
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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