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May 18, 2020

ECMO may help critically ill Covid-19 patients

By Chloe Kent

West Virginia University (WVU) research suggests that extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machines (ECMOs) can be useful for treating severely ill Covid-19 patients if ventilation alone proves insufficient.

An ECMO machine works by pumping someone’s blood outside of their body, oxygenating it and returning it to the body.

The WVU research team analysed 32 Covid-19 patients with severely compromised lung function who were supported by ECMO, and found that 22 of them survived at the time of analysis. Of those 22, 17 were still on ECMO. Only five had been removed from ECMO and lived.

The findings have now been published in ASAIO Journal.

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