ECMO transducer level

Specialties Critical



I recently started looking after ECMO patients and just have a question about ECMO transducers. At what level should it be placed? Is it the same as an arterial transducer (phlebostatic axis/ right atrium) or the level of the flow sensor? I am getting mixed answers from Perfusionists and ECMO specialists in my unit. Thank you!

Specializes in Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.


The best answer I could give you (something that I do personally in my practice), would be to look at the literature regarding ECMO transducer level placement.

This way, you will at least have a reliable resource to back your practice based on the evidence you researched.

Good luck to you!


Specializes in CTICU.

Transducer for what?

Specializes in Critical Care.

Any transducer is levelled to the height of where opening of the pressure monitoring lumen is.  This is to remove the effect of hydrostatic pressure from the reading.  This is why we use the 'phlebostatic axis' for CVP and PA pressure readings, it approximates the level of both lumen openings.  We also typically place the arterial line transducer at the same level we're effectively reading the pressure's produced by the left ventricle which is then read downstream from the LV, typical the radial or femoral artery, and placing the transducer at the level of the radial or femoral artery would skew the true pressure created by the LV with the hydrostatic pressures created in the arteries leading to either of those sites.

Specializes in Jack of all trades a master of none..

"but the online forums written by completely anonymous and unverified strangers said to level to the phlebostatic axis" 


This post is a little old, but I am now looking at my ECMO patient wondering which transducer we are talking about here.... HAHA

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