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Organogenesis. 2011 Jan-Mar;7(1):13-22. Epub 2011 Jan 1.

The evolution of patient selection criteria and indications for extracorporeal life support in pediatric cardiopulmonary failure: next time, let's not eat the bones.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


Bill James, baseball statistician and author, tells the story of hungry cavemen sitting about a campfire, waiting for tomatoes to ripen. One has the inspiration to throw an ox on the fire, and the first barbecue ensued and was endured. After eating, the conversation goes something like this. "There were some good parts." "Yeah, but there were some bad parts." And the smart one says, "This time, let's not eat the bones." The evolution of patient selection criteria for the use of extracorporeal support (ECLS) is a bit like those cavemen and their first barbecued ox. Extracorporeal life support technology and application to patient care is the unique result of a long standing history of ambitious attempt, evaluation, debate, collaboration and extension.

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