Baptist Hospital First in Area to Offer ECMO

PENSACOLA, Fla. (June 26, 2017) - Baptist Hospital is the first in the area to offer Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), an advanced treatment for adult patients who have life-threatening breathing and/or heart problems.

ECMO provides short-term support for patients with severe conditions such as severe pneumonia, influenza, massive heart attack or massive pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs). In such cases when the heart and lungs are too weak to function, ECMO can support the lungs or both the heart and lungs allowing them to recover.

ECMO therapy is used for very ill people who do not respond to conventional therapies such as a mechanical ventilator.

"Without ECMO, patients with severe respiratory and/or cardiac problems would have no chance of survival," says Dr. Enrique Diaz. "The ECMO machine provides oxygen and blood flow as the heart and lungs normally would function. The therapy allows the heart and lungs to rest as the body works to heal. Our program's mission is to provide patients in the region with this advanced treatment that allows them to stay in the area rather than being transferred to other centers far away from home and loved ones."

Diaz, an independent intensivist with the Pensacola Lung Group, came to the area from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), one of the busiest ECMO programs in the nation.

The ECMO care team is a collaboration between critical care and pulmonary physicians, cardiothoracic surgeons, interventional cardiologists, perfusionists, nurse ECMO specialists, critical care nurses and other clinical support staff.

"We are excited to introduce yet, another innovation into our community to benefit our patients’ health and improve access to care," says William Bailey, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon, Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute.

For more information about ECMO and the many procedures and treatments offered at Baptist, visit or call   850.908.ECMO (3266).

**Dr. Diaz is an independent member of medical staff of Baptist Hospital Inc., and is not an employee or an agent of Baptist Health Care.