The University of Michigan has a long tradition of being leaders and the ECMO program at UMHS is no exception. Our program was established in 1980 by one of the founding fathers of ECMO, Dr. Robert H. Bartlett. Our first patient was in 1981, with a total of eight patients that year. Currently we average 75-100 patients per year. In November 2010, we have placed our 2,000th patient on ECMO. The ECMO program grew swiftly and a dedicated team was organized in 1987. Dr. Bartlett expanded the program to adults in 1988. We have completed over 195 transports to date. In 1994, our program expanded to include rapid cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR).
As the years have passed, the ECMO program has become active in a variety of avenues - Tandem Heart Support, Impella Support, Vascular Surgery Support, and Donation after Cardiac Death.
Currently, we are staffed by a mix of 19 Nurses and Respiratory Therapists. We are able to staff 24/7, 365 days a year. Our program has traveled throughout the United States and continues to be a resource for other ECMO Centers. We are fortunate to be a part of a large teaching institution. UMHS has 925 licensed beds including 84 adult ICU beds, 31 pediatric ICU beds and 40 neonatal ICU beds. This allows us exposure to a vast array of patient conditions and disease processes.
The ECMO Program subscribes to the “patients and families first” philosophy established by the University Hospital Health System. Communication, compassion, and education are tools of the trade as we help families and friends cope with the severe illness of a loved one. The uniqueness of extracorporeal support attracts the interest of all health care professionals. Internationally recognized as a leader in extracorporeal life support research, the program serves as an educational resource to other health care centers. As a provider of a truly unique and highly technical service, the ECMO Program recognizes its place in the healthcare community and understands the importance of public relations with our local, regional, and national referral base.