Miami Valley Hospital offers new therapy for heart, lung patients

Miami Valley Hospital
Miami Valley Hospital

Miami Valley Hospital is the first in Dayton to offer the adult life-saving therapy extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ECMO, enabling critically ill heart and lung patients and their families to remain close to home, Premier Health said in a release.

With ECMO, blood is pumped outside of the body to a heart-lung machine that removes carbon dioxide and sends oxygen-filled blood back to tissues in the body. Blood flows from the right side of the heart to the membrane oxygenator in the heart-lung machine, and then is rewarmed and sent back to the body.

The ECMO equipment is similar to a heart-lung bypass machine used in open-heart surgery. It pumps and oxygenates a patient’s blood outside the body, allowing the heart and lungs to rest and heal.

“This service is usually found in large academic hospitals,” said Dr. Vincent Nardy, a surgeon with Cardiothoracic Surgery Associates. “It requires specialized staff to sustain a patient on ECMO. A patient may require treatment for a few days or a few weeks depending on the patient’s condition.”

ECMO does not treat or cure a disease. Instead, it is used in critical care situations in which a patient’s heart and lungs need help to heal and other life-support options have not worked. It may be used in care for COVID-19, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), pulmonary embolism, respiratory failure, cardiogenic shock, severe hypothermia, life-threatening response to infection such as sepsis, and other conditions of the heart and lungs. It may also be used with patients who are waiting for or recovering from a heart or lung transplant.

Miami Valley Hospital’s critically ill patients, as well as transferring patients from other medical facilities in the region, can remain close to home when in need of this higher level of care.

In 1986, Miami Valley Hospital was the first in Ohio to offered ECMO for babies in the NICU, and now extends this complex treatment to adults.