2020 Online Salon
How Extracorporeal Life Support Works
- Entrant Name: Nicholas Reback
- Membership Type: Professional Submission
- Other Contributors: Nicholas Reback
- Address: Chicago, Illinois USA
- Client: Journal of the American Medical Association
- Copyright: 2019 The American Medical Association
- Medium/software used: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator
- Final presentation format: Journal article (print and online)
- Primary Audience: Clinicians in acute respiratory care and emergency medicine
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a life support system often employed in place of mechanical ventilation. The technology supplements the work of the heart and lungs, thus lessening the stress on each during a period of critical illness. ECMO is being employed more often due to technological improvements and recent peer-reviewed studies validating its efficacy. ECMO is most commonly used for conditions such as acute respiratory distress syndrome and has played a small but important role treating severe cases of COVID-19.
The purpose of the illustration is to demonstrate to a broad clinical audience how an ECMO circuit performs decarboxylation and reoxygenation in a common two-site cannulation set up. The illustration makes a significant improvement on all previous depictions by including detailed insets of two important features: (1) placement of cannula tips in the right atrium, and (2) the specific physiology of gas exchange occurring within the oxygenator.