Across The COVID-Ravaged South, High-Level Life Support Is Difficult To Find

Posted by on September 6, 2021 5:00 am
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Categories: US National Stories

ECMO is the highest level of life support — beyond a ventilator, which pumps oxygen via a tube through the windpipe into the lungs. Instead, the ECMO process basically functions as a heart and lungs outside of the body — routing the blood via tubing to a machine that oxygenates it, then pumps it back into the patient.

ECMO, the highest level of mechanical life support, functions as a temporary heart and lungs for some of COVID-19’s sickest patients. But the waitlist is too long for many patients who need it.

(Image credit: Blake Farmer/Nashville Public Radio)

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