ECMO for COVID-19: A Call For System-Wide Checks to Ensure Equitable Delivery For All

ECMO for COVID-19: A Call For System-Wide Checks to Ensure Equitable Delivery For All

By: Alexandra de Leon Date: March 7th, 2023

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a beneficial but scare resource for patients with severe respiratory failure and has variable allocation across the United States. Similar to the ‘chain of survival’ necessary for survival after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, regional ECMO programs must complete a ‘circuit’ of interactions between populations, patients, providers, institutions, and community to successfully care for people with severe respiratory failure.

This new study published February 2023 in the Journal of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs defines and describes the stages of this circuit, highlights potential sources of bias, and offers ways to ‘check the circuit’ for opportunities to mitigate bias. By doing so, critical care providers and ECMO programs can examine their practices and implement strategies to ensure more equitable service delivery.

Researchers on this publication represent the Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Department of Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, and the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center at the University of Washington School of Medicine; and Parkland Hospital, University of Texas.