ECMO for providers

Referring a patient to ECMO

Infants, children, teens and adults suffering from severe cardio-pulmonary failure and other life-threatening conditions may require the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). ECMO is a sophisticated procedure, similar to the heart-lung bypass machine used in cardiac surgery, which takes over the oxygenation and heart function in patients with serious lung disease, cardiac disease, or trauma.

  • For consultation or referral, Legacy One Call Consult & Transfer: 1-800-500-9111
  • Go here for our referral criteria for adults 
  • For non-emergent information on ECMO, call the ECMO coordinator at 503-413-4457; pager, 503-295-8937

We accept questions and referrals 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are happy to receive consultations or to arrange transfer from centers in Oregon, Washington and the surrounding regions.

Recognized for excellence

Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel, a regional leader in ECMO for decades, has a focused program for each age group, from newborn to children and teens to adults. We have the most experience using the therapy of any medical center in the regions and the capability to treat and care for six patients on ECMO simultaneously.

Legacy's ECMO program has earned the ELSO (Extracorporeal Life Support Organization) Award for Excellence in Life Support. This award signifies that our program has been recognized as a “distinguished leader in critical care" and provides high-quality, state-of-the-art care. The ELSO Award of Excellence is recognized by US News and World Report and Parents magazines as a criterion for top institutions.

According to ELSO, our program "demonstrated extraordinary achievement" in patient care, training, collaboration, education and communication. A designated Center of Excellence has demonstrated extraordinary achievement in: 

  • Promoting the mission, activities, and vision of ELSO
  • Patient care by using the highest quality measures, processes, and structures based upon evidence
  • Training, education, collaboration and communication supporting ELSO guidelines that contributes to a healing environment for families, patients and staff.

The ELSO Award signifies to patients and families a commitment to exceptional patient care. It also demonstrates to the health care community an assurance of high quality standards, specialized equipment and supplies, defined patient protocols, and advanced education of all staff members.

Information for patients

Patients can read about our ECMO services here; for pediatric ECMO, patients and families can find more information is here.

Expert consultation

If you are treating an infant, child or adult suffering from severe cardio-respiratory failure who is not responding to standard medical treatment, the experts at Legacy Emanuel and Randall Children’s Hospital provide collaborative, consultative advice. Our experience with hundreds of ECMO cases shows that early dialogue is crucial to optimal patient survival and outcomes. Survival of the potential ECMO patient is correlated to appropriate and safe transfer of the patient before the patient actually meets the clinical criteria for ECMO therapy –– we encourage you to call. 

More patients with severe lung failure (ARDS) survive ECMO if it is started before they have been on the ventilator (breathing machine) for more than a few days. It is important to call us early. We are dedicated to be available to help these profoundly ill patients, their families and our community by providing this care at the highest possible standards.

Therapy for serious conditions

Our program helps patients with these conditions:

Neonates

• Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS)
• Pneumonia
• Sepsis
• Respiratory failure
• Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
• Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN)
• Congenital heart disease

For infants/children/teens/

• Near drowning
• Pneumonia
• Sepsis
• Congenital heart disease
• Respiratory failure
• Shock
• Traumatic injury
• Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
• Acidosis
• Hypoxia
• Hypothermia

For adults

 • Near drowning
• Pneumonia
• Sepsis
• Congenital heart disease
• Respiratory failure
• Shock
• Traumatic injury
• Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
• Acidosis
• Hypoxia
• Hypothermia
• Bridge to transplant

In addition to ECMO, we offer a full spectrum of related therapies. These include advanced ventilator management, kidney support therapy, plasmaphoresis, sophisticated monitoring, imaging and cardiac assist devices. All of these services are under the direction of specially trained, experienced and board-certified neonatal, pediatric and medical and surgical care specialists.

In addition, the PICU at Randall Children's Hospital uses volumeric diffusive respiration (VDR) systems to keep some patients with lung problems from needing ECMO.

Rooms in Randall Children's Hospital in the NICU and PICU are large enough to have room for the ECMO equipment.

For adults, a new critical care unit has been designed for state-of-the art care in a family-oriented setting. Family and friends are welcome to participate while at the bedside of their loved one.

Specialized, dedicated team –– around the clock

Our program features a range of specialists to provide minute-to-minute bedside support for the complex technology.
• ECMO-trained neonatologists and pediatric intensivists are available around the clock in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
• Specially trained ECMO physicians work with pediatric surgeons, cardio-thoracic surgeons, trauma surgeons, cardiologists, and renal and pulmonary specialists to care for ECMO patients.
• The ECMO nurse specialist operates the ECMO machine, making adjustments. An additional nurse monitors vital signs and other aspects of patient care.
• We have a full team of specialists, perfusionists, therapists and more

ELSO database registry

ELSO maintains an international registry of information about ECMO patients. We submit information on each ECMO patient to this database, which provides us with invaluable information about ECMO therapy, underlying illnesses and patient outcomes. We use this data to evaluate and continually improve our care of the ECMO patient.

Our providers

Andy Michaels, M.D., medical director, adult ECMO

Martha Nelson, M.D., medical director, neonatal ECMO, Randall Children's Hospital

Peter Quint, M.D., medical director, pediatric ECMO, Randall Children's Hospital