Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) is a temporary mechanical support system that replaces the function of the heart and/or lungs in patients with cardiac and respiratory failure. In 2009, a worldwide pandemic of H1N1 influenza affecting millions of young adults made evident the benefit of ECMO in patients with respiratory failure who fail mechanical ventilation. Since then, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of patients successfully treated with ECMO in the U.S., and a significant improvement in patient outcomes. The UAB ECMO program has been successfully treating pediatric and adult patients for over 20 years, and is currently one of the busiest ECMO programs in the nation, supporting approximately 80-100 adult patients per year, in addition to 40-50 pediatric patients supported at Children’s of Alabama.

In the News - UAB ECMO receives Gold Level Award for Excellence

Our program is the only available ECMO program in the state of Alabama, and during the 2013 influenza season provided support for more than 80 adult patients with cardiopulmonary failure, including patients from Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. In addition to supporting patients with influenza and ARDS, our program is involved in ambulatory ECMO as a bridge to lung transplantation, and provides support to patients with a diverse variety of cardiac procedures and disorders, including those with coronary artery disease and cardiogenic shock. Our program has successfully supported patients with respiratory failure associated with trauma, poisoning injuries, post-surgical complications and pregnancy. The UAB ECMO program is proud to participate with the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) and is involved in research including an international consortium of ECMO centers.

Our team is able to staff multiple patients in a dedicated section of the cardiothoracic ICU with full support of an ECMO specialist 24/7, and includes pulmonologists, cardiologists, intensive care specialists, cardiovascular surgeons, perfusionists, specialized nurses trained in ECMO, and respiratory and physical therapists who are dedicated to the care of ECMO patients. UAB is aware of its unique position in the geographic community and serves as a regional referral center capable of providing technical and consultative services to patients in need of ECMO support.

Indications for ECMO (including but not limited to):

Download Information on Program
If you would like to view, download, and/or print the above information on the UAB ECMO Program, click here.

Consultation & Referral
For a physician-to-physician consultation, or to make a referral, please call 800.UAB.MIST (800.822.6478) or email to be connected with the ECMO team.