Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a technique for providing respiratory and cardiac support to patients whose heart and lungs are so severely diseased or damaged that they can no longer work.
The ECMO machine is very similar to heart and lung machines used during open-heart surgery. It is a supportive measure that uses an artificial lung (the membrane) to oxygenate the blood outside the body (extracorporeal).
Leicester is the only centre that provides ECMO for all ages, from newborns to adults.
We are the busiest of the 4 ECMO centres in the UK, and the largest ECMO centre in Europe, with in excess of 150 cases annually. The ECMO centre in Leicester received national media attention and commendation by the Department of Health for its role in treating the sickest patients during the recent H1N1 (swine 'flu) pandemics.