Columbia study shows ECMO is effective in bridging patients to lung transplantation and recovery

NYPH/Columbia's ECMO and Lung Transplant teams have reported the best survival rates to date for ECMO-supported bridge to lung transplant.

Patients waiting for a lung transplant may develop severe respiratory failure while on the transplant waitlist and require mechanical ventilation. Traditionally, such patients rapidly become too sick and deconditioned to tolerate a transplant and they are soon removed from the waitlist.

The Columbia program is considered a leader in the field and has pioneered the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) as an artificial lung to temporarily support patients with severe respiratory failure. In many cases, ECMO provides adequate support without the need for mechanical ventilation, and sometimes even allows patients to get out of bed and exercise. This permits them to maintain or even improve their physical conditioning rather than allowing it to worsen, greatly increasing the likelihood that they will be successfully transplanted.

Results of experience at NYPH/Columbia were published in the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery July 13, 2012.