Extracorporeal Life Support Program

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) uses a combination of biomedical devices to reproduce the functions of the heart and lungs. This technology provides sustained life support for newborn and pediatric patients who suffer from overwhelming respiratory or cardiac failure that cannot be managed using other treatments.

Columbia’s Center for Extracorporeal Life Support at New York-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, formed in 1982, was the third in the world to successfully support a newborn. It is also a center of excellence designated by ELSO, the leading Extracorporeal Life Support Organization. Thousands of infants have been referred to our center as potential ECMO patients from hospitals throughout the tristate area and mid-Atlantic region.

We have extensive experience in treating newborns with congenital diaphragmatic hernia who often need ECMO prior to surgery. By designing a protocol focused on the gentle support of the fragile lungs of these babies, we have achieved a survival rate of more than 90 percent for infants with this condition.