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Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for severe acute respiratory failure in adults: NICE guidance
  1. Anthony J Bastin,
  2. Richard Firmin
  1. ECMO Department, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Richard Firmin, ECMO Department, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester LE3 9QP, UK; richard.firmin{at}


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a modified form of cardiopulmonary bypass that allows short-term support for potentially reversible severe acute respiratory and/or cardiac failure in critically ill adults and children. There is increasing interest in veno-venous (VV) ECMO for severe acute respiratory failure in adults. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has recently updated its interventional procedure guidance, which summarises available data on efficacy and safety of this procedure and provides guidance for clinicians wishing to undertake VV ECMO. The authors summarise and reflect on the guidelines and discuss some recent developments in technology and clinical practice of VV ECMO.

  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • extracorporeal circulation
  • respiratory insufficiency
  • acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • guideline
  • intensive care
  • cardiogenic shock
  • lung
  • cardiac surgery
  • lung injury
  • surgery—paediatric

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.