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Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation

Tamika Therlonge

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Chamberlain University College of Nursing

NR341: Complex Adult Health

Professor Bacchus

14 February 2021

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Introduction

The therapeutic modality I will be discussing with this paper is Extracorporeal Membrane

Oxygenation, or ECMO. This therapeutic modality is one that requires specific training above

and beyond general entry-level nursing education as it deals with very complex technology and

is utilized in patients with a severe condition that could potentially be life-threatening and must

be handled delicately. An example of a case study in which this therapeutic modality would be

utilized is an 80-year-old female client who is experiencing myocarditis, or inflammation of the

heart muscle. The patient is frail and having difficulty breathing, fainting, experiencing chest

pain, and is feeling lightheaded and fatigued. After administrations of ACE inhibitors, diuretics,

and beta blockers have not helped improve her heart condition, the health care provider has

decided to focus on measures to ease the load off of the patient’s heart instead. This is when the

ECMO therapeutic modality will come into play as the provider has ordered for the patient to be

placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation to allow her heart and lungs to rest and heal.

Explanation and Background

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation is essentially a machine that provides life support

for patients with illnesses that are so severe and even life-threatening that their heart and lungs

can no longer sustain the workload to continue to properly support their systems on their own

(American Thoracic Society, 2020). ECMO provides these individuals with a support by working

outside their bodies to pump blood from the patient to an artificial lung device where oxygen is

added, and the blood is artificially pumped back into the patient as their heart normally would.

There is no specific patient population that this therapeutic modality is used for, as it can be

utilized across all age ranges from pediatric to geriatric, however it is meant for people suffering

from certain illnesses or disorders. The patient population this modality would be aimed towards

This study source was downloaded by 100000758613853 from CourseHero.com on 03-06-2022 01:06:42 GMT -06:00

https://www.coursehero.com/file/84344901/Complex-RUA-Interdisciplinary-Caredocx/

 

 

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would include individuals who have a heart condition in which their heart can no longer

effectively pump enough blood to their entire body, those whose lungs are not strong enough to

provide oxygen for their bodies even with administered oxygen or their lungs are not able to

adequately remove carbon dioxide, even with the use of a mechanical ventilator. Additionally,

this modality is also utilized for patients who are suffering from an incurable disease and may be

waiting for a transplant of a heart or lungs. The medications administered to patients utilizing the

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