Why Choose CHOP for ECMO

One of the most active ECMO centers in the country

The ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is one of the most active in the country. We have treated more than 1,160 patients since the program opened in May 1990 (with more than 1,300 total ECMO runs as of July 2017).

Each year, approximately 50 to 60 neonates and children are supported with ECMO in our Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU) (45 percent), Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (45 percent) and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (10 percent). The program has expanded to 10 beds (or complete ECMO systems) throughout the Hospital for neonates as well as pediatric and cardiac patients. No other ECMO program in the country has more experience caring for such complex patients.

Recognized excellence

ELSO award The ECMO Center has been designated a Center of Excellence by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) since 2008, and in 2017, received the “Platinum Level ELSO Award for Excellence in Life Support.” The Platinum Level is the highest awarded honor, and is rarely achieved by ELSO member institutions, especially pediatric centers.

The ELSO Award signifies a commitment to exceptional patient care, an assurance of high-quality standards, specialized equipment and supplies, defined patient protocols, and advanced education of all staff members.

Comprehensive care

Here at CHOP, complete ECMO systems are available for use in any intensive care unit. We provide the same level of specialized care for children of all ages, from newborn to adolescent.

When needed, our ECMO team works closely with referring clinicians to quickly and safely transport patients on ECMO from a referring hospital to our center. Your child can benefit from our state-of-the-art facilities and 24/7 access to any pediatric subspecialists they may need.

A highly trained team

Each of our attending pediatric surgeons is specially trained in this technique, and participates on the ECMO team alongside neonatologists, intensivists, cardiologists, perfusionists, nurses and respiratory therapists. Our entire team meets the highest standards of training and expertise, ensuring the best care for your child.

A commitment to advancing care

CHOP has one of the nation’s best simulation training programs, including highly specific ECMO simulations that keep our ECMO specialists on the cutting edge of the latest techniques.

Ongoing teaching conferences and research activities ensure that CHOP’s ECMO Center continues to develop and maintain the most up-to-date techniques in extracorporeal life support. We are leading the way in brain protection and research with a focus on protecting patients' developing brains while on ECMO.

ecmo machine

About ECMO

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, is a cardiopulmonary bypass technique that provides long-term breathing and heart support.

Child in hospital laying down

ECMO Research

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is advancing extracorporeal life support technologies for the most critically ill children.


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