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Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust
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Critical care and anaesthesia

ECMO and severe respiratory failure service

Royal Brompton Hospital provides ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) for adults. The hospital is one of five centrally funded severe acute respiratory failure centres in England able to offer ECMO.

ECMO provides oxygen to the blood from outside the body when the lungs are not able to. An ECMO machine is similar to the equipment used during a heart-lung bypass operation.

Ventilation equipment is used during ECMO
Royal Brompton's severe respiratory failure and ECMO clinicians provides support to hospitals in the following critical care networks:

  • Avon and Gloucester
  • London north central
  • London north west
  • South west peninsula
  • Thames Valley area of south central

We will care for patients requiring ECMO in any network but these networks are our primary responsibility.

The service is set up to offer a range of assistance that includes:
  • Imaging reviews
  • Thoracic surgical input
  • High-frequency oscillation
  • Extracorporeal carbon dioxide removal
  • ECMO support

We are providing a “24/7” consultant-delivered retrieval service that can provide mobile ECMO when required.
ECMO service for adults
In the unlikely event that we do not have sufficient capacity, we will find an ECMO bed for a patient at one of the other four ECMO centres.

Typical patients suitable for ECMO treatment will include those with reversible disease associated with severe hypoxaemia (e.g. PaO2/FiO2 < 13.3kPa), severe hypercapnic acidosis (e.g. pH<7.20) despite conventional support.

We are keen to discuss patients in whom adequate arterial blood gases cannot be achieved using lung protective tidal volumes and pressures.

The potential benefits of ECMO as a lung protective strategy diminish after about one week of conventional ventilation at high pressure and high inspired oxygen.

The ECMO team

The ECMO team at Royal Brompton Hospital consists of six respiratory consultants:

These ECMO specialists work closely with Anoma Gunawardena (lead nurse for ECMO) and Tim Jackson (chief perfusionist).

How to refer your patient for ECMO

Read about referral criteria for ECMO services.

Read our news story about being commissioned as one of five ECMO centres for adults in England.

Royal Brompton

Sydney Street,
London SW3 6NP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7352 8121


ECMO contact details:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7351 8523
Fax: +44 (0)20 7351 8524
Email: ecmo@rbht.nhs.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7351 8585

Overview of the ECMO service

Click here to watch a video about referring into the ECMO service