What does my loved one look like while on ECMO?

Initial appearance during extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)

ECMO patients may look puffy the first few days on ECMO. Patients on ECMO sometimes need extra fluid in the beginning because they are so sick. The kidneys, which help us get rid of fluid, can’t keep up. We monitor the kidneys by measuring urine and drawing labs.

ECMO with a foley catheter

Some patients may have a tube, called a foley catheter, placed in their bladder. This catheter helps the medical team measure urine and helps the kidneys if they continue to struggle keeping up.

Continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) during ECMO

A special machine can be added to the ECMO machine to slowly remove fluid and clean the blood. This form of dialysis is referred to as continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT).

Kidney monitoring during ECMO

We will closely watch how well your loved one’s kidneys are working during ECMO and afterward to see that there are no long-term problems.

Last reviewed: 
June 2017

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