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Chest. 2008 Jul;134(1):179-84. doi: 10.1378/chest.07-2512.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation: current clinical practice, coding, and reimbursement.

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Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 South Euclid Ave, Campus Box 8109, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a technique for providing life support for patients experiencing both pulmonary and cardiac failure by maintaining oxygenation and perfusion until native organ function is restored. ECMO is used routinely at many specialized hospitals for infants and less commonly for children with respiratory or cardiac failure from a variety of causes. Its usage is more controversial in adults, but select medical centers have reported favorable findings in patients with ARDS and other causes of severe pulmonary failure. ECMO is also rarely used as a rescue therapy in a small subset of adult patients with cardiac failure. This article will review the current uses and techniques of ECMO in the critical care setting as well as the evidence supporting its usage. In addition, current practice management related to coding and reimbursement for this intensive therapy will be discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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