Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is a national leader in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Our ECMO experts provide life-saving care with a heart-lung machine for people whose serious illnesses prevent their hearts and lungs from working properly. ECMO may be used for patients waiting for heart or lung transplants, recovering from illness or preparing for a high-risk surgery. Our ECMO experts work with a team of Vanderbilt specialists to treat your underlying condition.

Conditions We Treat

We treat severe heart and lung conditions, including:

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    Acute lung failure
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    Acute respiratory distress syndrome
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    Aspiration pneumonia
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    Cardiogenic shock
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    Pneumonia
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    Post-surgery cardiac failure
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    Pulmonary embolism

Meet Your Care Team

Matthew Bacchetta

Matthew BacchettaMD, MBA, MA

    Cardiac Surgery, Lung Transplant, Lung Transplantation, Lung/Thoracic Cancer, Pulmonary Endarterectomy for Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension, Surgery for Diseases of the Lung, Surgery for Diseases of the Rib Cage and Diaphragm
Keki Balsara

Keki BalsaraMD, MBA

    Cardiac Surgery, Cardiac Transplantation, Carotid Disease, Coronary Heart Disease, Heart Assist Devices, Surgery for Cardiac Infections
Stephanie G. Norfolk
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4.8

Stephanie G. NorfolkMD

    Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Meredith E. Pugh
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4.9

Meredith E. PughMD, MSCI

    Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Ashish S. Shah
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4.8

Ashish S. ShahMD

    Aortic Center, Cardiac Surgery, Cardiac Tumors, Cardiac Valve Disease, Heart Assist Devices, Heart Transplant, Heart Valve Center

Why Choose Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) at Vanderbilt

  • Recognized care

    The Vanderbilt Adult ECMO program has achieved the ELSO Award of Excellence in Life Support - Gold Level. The award recognizes programs worldwide that have processes, procedures and systems in place promoting excellence and exceptional care in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

  • Unique expertise

    We have provided life-saving ECMO care to children and adults for more than 30 years. Today our program is the largest in Tennessee.

  • Skilled clinicians

    Vanderbilt doctors have conducted some of the most important ECMO research and published some of the most important studies about the specialty. Other hospitals look to Vanderbilt to train their ECMO specialists. With knowledge in all configurations of ECMO, our Vanderbilt team can provide the best care for you. 

  • Team approach

    Our ECMO teams work with pulmonologists, cardiologists and other specialists to treat your unique condition. Comprehensive ECMO care is available throughout Vanderbilt, not just in the intensive care unit.

  • Innovation

    Our ECMO specialists helped develop ambulatory ECMO, which means patients are not confined to bed. Vanderbilt is one of the first hospitals in the nation to allow ECMO patients up and walking. We provide physical therapy so patients can maintain their strength. We also work with medical device manufacturers to develop new technologies, making ECMO safer and more effective.

  • Transport services

    We are one of few hospitals in the U.S. and the only one in Tennessee to offer aeromedical evacuation for ECMO patients. If you need advanced care and are far from Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt LifeFlight can bring you here.

  • Access to organ transplant

    If heart or multi-organ transplant is the next step in your care, you’re already at the right place. Vanderbilt has the second-largest heart transplant program in the U.S., with patient outcomes among the best in the nation.