Jayalalithaa' health- What is an ECMO and how does it work

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Chennai, Dec 5: When doctors at the Apollo hospital in Chennai said that Tamil Nadu chief minister who suffered a cardiac arrest was being put on heart assist, they also said that the next 12 hours would be crucial.

The hospital said that the TN CM was put on an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) heart assist device.


This device helps cardiac and respiratory functions.

What is ECMO and how does it function. Here is a brief explainer on the same.

What is ECMO:
ECMO is used as a rescue therapy when the patient is found to be unresponsive to CPR.

It is a life support system used for patients who suffer a cardiac arrest.

The ECMO machine drains the blood from a vein while adding oxygen and removing carbon dioxide.

The machine aids in warming the blood and then returns it to the artery. This allows blood to to bypass the heart and lungs.

When the doctors believe that the cardiac arrest is reversible, ECMO is resorted.

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