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ECMO: Saving lives during the pandemic

ECMO: Saving lives during the pandemic

By Emily Dovolis Thomson, MHA

The beeping vibrato of pressure monitors, mechanical rhythm of the blood pump, low hum of the oxygenator and metronomic beat measuring heart rate: These are the sounds that emanate from a complex circuit of pumps, tubes, filters and monitors called ECMO, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. ECMO moves blood outside of the body through cannulae, or tubes, to an oxygenator that provides a gas exchange in the blood, removing carbon dioxide and replacing it with oxygen. The oxygenated blood is then warmed to the appropriate temperature and returned to the body using rhythms that mimic a beating heart.

When disease or trauma prevent the body from performing these life-sustaining rhythms, ECMO can take over.

Kamryn

Kamryn

Hip Dysplasia Patient
Orthopedics

On June 28, 2019, the life of Kamryn Dehn was about to change for the better. That morning, John Clohisy, MD, a Washington University physician at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, performed extensive surgery on Kamryn’s right hip, putting an end to more than 10 years of pain and suffering due to developmental dysplasia.

Josh

Josh

Cystic Fibrosis Patient
Transplant

After being diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) at a young age, Josh's future was uncertain and the impact on his life as an adult was significant. Surgeons at Barnes-Jewish Hospital performed a double transplant – liver and lungs – to help Josh return to the activities he loved.

Michael

Michael

Atrial Fibrillation Patient
Heart & Vascular

Michael tried various treatments to control his a-fib with little success. Washington University physicians had the answer to long term relief by using cardiac mapping, an innovative treatment developed at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Beth and Scott

Beth and Scott

Kidney Transplant Recipient and Donor
Transplant

Beth, a young mom, found out she needed a transplant. Her kidneys were quickly failing. Scott, who knew nothing about Beth, decided he wanted to donate a kidney to someone who needed it more than he. Two surgeries and a little less than a year later, the two met on a baseball diamond for the first time.

Barrett

Barrett

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) Patient
Women & Infants

Amanda and Kyle tell their story of awaiting their third child, Barrett, when Amanda’s 20-week ultrasound revealed her baby had CDH, congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

Courtney

Courtney

Advanced Heart Failure Patient
Heart & Vascular

Courtney was diagnosed with heart disease as a child. It didn't stop her from leading an active lifestyle until she noticed her health begin to decline.

Lena

Lena

Congenital Heart Disease Patient
Heart & Vascular

Lena Mörsch has lived with congenital heart disease since childhood. Now she is on a mission to help others with the disease find support.

Krysta

Krysta

Stroke Survivor
Neurology & Neurosurgery

Krysta survived a stroke at age 25. Read how Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University neurosurgeon Greg Zipfel, MD helped her get back on the horse.

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