ECMO: Most Advanced ICU Technology?

  1. Two of the ICUs at my institution utilize ECMO. I have a very limited understanding of ECMO, including its value and prognosis of pts on it. I'm wondering though is ECMO the most advanced type of technology available to ICU pts?
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   Rose_Queen
    I would think not really. It's rather similar to the concept of cardiopulmonary bypass machines that have been around since the advent of cardiac surgery. It's just smaller, portable, and outside the OR.
  4. by   offlabel
    You can say that the only patients sicker than ECMO patients are dying and can't be helped by ECMO.
  5. by   CVVH
    Quote from Rose_Queen
    I would think not really. It's rather similar to the concept of cardiopulmonary bypass machines that have been around since the advent of cardiac surgery. It's just smaller, portable, and outside the OR.
    Very true.

    What do you think are the most advanced critical care technologies available today?
  6. by   SummitRN
    Define "advanced"?
  7. by   Rose_Queen
    Quote from CVVH
    Very true.

    What do you think are the most advanced critical care technologies available today?
    I don't work ICU, so I wouldn't know. I'm a recent cardiac OR nurse.
  8. by   AlabamaBelle
    Really, it isn't a technology...the most critical care technology is critical thinking. No "highest advanced" technology will ever surpass the need for the human brain and it's ability to assess and make the necessary adjustments in care. I am finding this "the most advanced, "the most, best ........ " fill in the blank getting to be tiring. I feel as if there's a race to see who's better than someone else. Off my soapbox!
  9. by   Julius Seizure
    Quote from AlabamaBelle
    Really, it isn't a technology...the most critical care technology is critical thinking. No "highest advanced" technology will ever surpass the need for the human brain and it's ability to assess and make the necessary adjustments in care. I am finding this "the most advanced, "the most, best ........ " fill in the blank getting to be tiring. I feel as if there's a race to see who's better than someone else. Off my soapbox!
    It really is true. So many of the machines used to keep sick people alive are really just fancy pumps.
  10. by   CVVH
    I guess what I'm wondering is, what are the most recent technologies available today that augment diagnostics/care/treatment of critically ill patients?
  11. by   offlabel
    Well, ECMO is too "advanced" for the ICU RNs where I work...the perfusionists run it.
  12. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from CVVH
    I guess what I'm wondering is, what are the most recent technologies available today that augment diagnostics/care/treatment of critically ill patients?
    Is this a homework question?

    Most of the most "advanced" ICU treatments are just pumps: balloon pumps, RVADs, LVADs, dialysis machines (OK, a pump and a filter), ECMO (a pump and an oxygenator), ventilators, IV pumps. Some pumps pump things in at a set rate, some pumps pump things out at a set rate; some pumps pump things in and out . . . mostly just pumps. The most critical piece of all of this is, as stated upthread, the critical thinking of the practitioner watching the patient's response to all that pumping.
  13. by   Julius Seizure
    Quote from CVVH
    I guess what I'm wondering is, what are the most recent technologies available today that augment diagnostics/care/treatment of critically ill patients?
    Well, they are starting to use 3-D printers to do things like rebuild the airway of people with tracheomalacia.

    Those green caps for the ends of IV tubing that are infused with alcohol (Curos caps) are pretty new.

    NIRS only came about in, I think, the late 90s, as were BIS monitors.

    Hybrid operating rooms.

    How about gene testing to determine which drug will work best for that patient?

    Scientists are still in the early stages of using stem cell therapy.

    The first HPV vaccine was developed only 11 years ago.

    Hospitals are finally starting to embrace smart phones and texting for communication between members of the healthcare team - some places now equip each nurse with their own smart phone every shift. So much better than paging a doc and waiting by the phone at the desk!

    Widespread use of EMRs is new in the past decade.

    Telemedicine.

    These are all awesome, but they don't work without someone assessing the patient, using critical thinking, and deciding how to help the patient get well or stay well!
  14. by   englishgarden
    Ecmo is an advanced life saving technology used for patients with heart and lung failure. This type of technology is not available at all hospitals. As mentioned, patients on Ecmo are very sick and require close monitoring and critical thinking. Attached is a good article about the types of patients on Ecmo and an idea about survival. ECMO Buys Time for Heart, Lung Patients | Heart and Vascular Center News Winter 28 | UCSF Medical Center
    Good for you for asking questions and being curious. Try to visit your hospital unit with Ecmo and talk to the nurses, maybe you want to work in the ICU!

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