Increasing cardiac arrest survival


eMediNexus    13 February 2018

The ECMO extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation protocol is increasing survival rates from zero to around 40 percent.


As per Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center ECMO protocol should be initiated if EMS providers are not able to restore a normal rhythm after shocking the heart three times. Under the protocol, EMS providers alert the hospital before connecting the patient to an automatic CPR device to preserve brain and organ function while en route to the hospital. When the patient arrives, they can bypass the emergency room and go straight to the heart catheterization lab to be connected to an ECMO machine. This allows the heart and lungs to rest while doctors perform a catheterization to find the blocked artery and put a stenting.


  1. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is prolonged mechanical cardiopulmonary support given in ICU
  2. Extracorporeal support of heart and lung function (venoarterial perfusion) during cardiac arrest (ECPR) has been advocated as a means of improving survival following cardiac arrest. 
  3. In prolonged cardiac arrest with failing conventional measures, rescue by extracorporeal support provides an ultimate therapeutic option with a good outcome in survivors. 
  4. Venoarterial (VA) ECMO can provide acute support in cardiogenic shock or cardiac arrest in adults. 
  5. During VA ECMO, blood is extracted from the right atrium and returned to the arterial system, bypassing the heart and lungs. VA ECMO provides both respiratory and hemodynamic support.

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