Watch video: Recognition for Swedish ECMO program's commitment to excellence

January 27, 2023 Swedish Communications
 

In this article: 

  • In October, Swedish’s extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) program, received certification from DNV, a national healthcare certification and accreditation organization.

  • ECMO is used to treat patients in severe heart and lung failure after something like COVID or a severe heart attack. 

  • Swedish was the first hospital in the United States to employ the technology in treating a COVID patient and continues to receive patients from hospitals in the Puget Sound region that don’t have an ECMO program. 

 
In October, an exceptional program at Swedish received yet another recognition of its excellence, standards and continuing care to some of the sickest patients from around Western Washington. 
 
In October, Swedish’s extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) program, received certification from DNV, a national healthcare certification and accreditation organization. The certification affirms that Swedish’s ECMO facilities, which are located on our Cherry Hill campus, meet or exceed standards of care in the complex specialty of extracorporeal life support.  In addition to the DNV certification, Swedish’s program has been recognized as a center of excellence by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization, or ELSO, a non-profit consortium of healthcare institutions dedicated to ECMO innovation, advocacy and knowledge advancement. 

Providence Swedish CVICU RN Erin Lomas (at left) discussed our leading-edge ECMO program on KING 5's New Day Northwest. 

“ECMO is basically the pump that takes over the work of both the heart and the lungs. During surgery people are on this type of pump for several hours, but with ECMO [which is used for patients in severe heart and lung failure after something like COVID or a severe heart attack] we have had a patient on this pump days to weeks, the longest was 108 days. We use it to sustain a person’s life while the underlying heart or lung problems are corrected,” says ECMO Program Director John Mignone, M.D. Dr. Mignone leads the ECMO team at the John L. Locke Jr. Advanced Cardiac Support Program at the Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute

 
Stock image of an ECMO machine. 
 
There are specific eligibility requirements for ECMO treatment, and the length of time a patient is on ECMO can vary, depending on their condition. ECMO treatment specifics also vary based on whether a patient’s primary issue is with their heart or their lungs. Named VA and VV ECMO respectively, patients requiring VV ECMO, which supports the lungs, tend to be on the treatment longer than cardiac patients. VV ECMO has been used heavily during COVID. Swedish was the first hospital in the United States to employ the technology in treating a COVID patient and continues to receive patients from hospitals in the Puget Sound region that don’t have an ECMO program. 
 
Swedish’s ECMO program is remarkable in its level of clinical expertise, recognition for excellence and thought leadership around patient care and program development, says Erin Lomas, RN, MSN, who works on Swedish’s Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit. Her role in educating and training ECMO-specialized nurses is truly unique. Swedish’s deep bench of dedicated ECMO specialists makes the program a standout, she says. 
 
“We started our program in 2015 and at that time there wasn’t much offered in Seattle around ECMO, so we were really the first program that was up and running to accept patients. We had some really invested providers, including nurses and perfusionists,” says Erin. “We all just wanted a way to save people and we’ve had some really awesome success stories.” 
 

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Additional resources

Heart disease and stroke prevention: It starts with knowing the risks

Heart disease: what women need to know

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

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