Baptist Health Care Reaches Key Milestone in Critical Care with 100th ECMO Patient


Baptist Health Care has reached a significant milestone with the treatment of its 100th patient to undergo extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, treatment.

ECMO technology is used to treat critically ill patients whose heart and lungs are unable to adequately oxygenate the blood. ECMO pumps the blood outside the body to a heart-lung machine which removes the carbon dioxide and then returns the oxygen-rich blood into the body. The ECMO machine replaces the functions of the heart and lungs, allowing them to rest and heal.

Baptist offers the only ECMO program in northwest Florida and south Alabama. The program was created in 2017 and has drawn experts from across the U.S. to join the ECMO team. The core team consists of ECMO specialists, perfusionists, bedside nurses, a program coordinator, a program lead and the medical director. Others who provide additional specialized services for ECMO patients include a cardiac surgical team, intensivists, respiratory therapists and physical therapists. To become an ECMO specialist, a nurse must undergo special clinical training and pass a written exam. They must also complete continuing ECMO education.

ECMO provides temporary support for patients with conditions such as severe pneumonia, influenza, massive heart attack or massive pulmonary embolism who do not respond to conventional therapies. It has proven to be an important tool in managing the treatment of certain patients with complications from COVID-19.

For more information about Baptist Health Care’s ECMO program, visit