PICU procedure

Specialties Pediatric


Today I interviewed for a position in a PICU. The nurse manager showed me an infant who was born with tricuspid atresia and was undergoing a procedure. It sounded like the nurse said the procedure was called "ecchymosis". I know that this is the technical term for "bruising", so I must have heard it wrong. There were a lot of machines in the room and three nurses taking care of the patient. Is there a procedure that sounds like the word "ecchymosis"? What was happening to this patient?


6,620 Posts

ECMO maybe? I don't work PICU, but we've had to do that in the NICU. It's like a big blood bypass machine thing that takes over the work of the heart and lung.


membrane oxygenation


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a special procedure that uses an artificial heart-lung machine to take over the work of the lungs (and sometimes also the heart). ECMO is used most often in newborns and young children, but it also can be used as a last resort for adults whose heart or lungs are failing.


In newborns, ECMO is used to support or replace an infant's undeveloped or failing lungs by providing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide waste products so the lungs can rest. Infants who need ECMO may include those with:

Meconium aspiration syndrome (Breathing in of a newborn's first stool by a fetus or newborn, which can block air passages and interfere with lung expansion).

Persistent pulmonary hypertension (A disorder in which the blood pressure in the arteries supplying the lungs is abnormally high).

Respiratory distress syndrome (A lung disorder usually of premature infants that causes increasing difficulty in breathing, leading to a life-threatening deficiency of oxygen in the blood).

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (The profusion of part of the stomach through an opening in the diaphragm).


Blood poisoning.


ECMO is also used to support a child or adult patient's damaged, infected, or failing lungs for a few hours to allow treatment or healing. It is effective for those patients with severe, but reversible, heart or lung problems who haven't responded to treatment with a ventilator, drugs, or extra oxygen. Adults and children who need ECMO usually have one of these problems:

Heart failure


Respiratory failure caused by trauma or severe infection.

The ECMO procedure can help a patient's lungs and heart rest and recover, but it will not cure the underlying disease. Any patient who requires ECMO is seriously ill and will likely die without the treatment. Because there is some risk involved, this method is used only when other means of support have failed.

Kiwi, BSN, RN

380 Posts

Yes, that must have been what she was referring to. Thanks for the detailed response!


6,620 Posts

Your welcome:) Glad to help

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