What are the risks of ECMO?

• Bleeding

Because heparin is used there is a risk of bleeding. The bleeding can happen anywhere but usually happens where the tube has been inserted. We monitor the clotting ability of the blood very carefully to try and minimise this.

• Blood clots

ECMO can cause the blood to clot too much. The blood in the ECMO circuit can clot at points where tubing is connected. These clots will be removed if needed.

• Infection

Routine tests are done to look for signs of infection. Antibiotics are given as needed to fight infection.

• Equipment

Problems can happen with the equipment or with the tubing that makes up the circuit. The ECMO specialists are trained to spot and fix any problems.