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Evidence to Improve Care

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation for Cardiac Indications in Adults

Draft Recommendation

  • Health Quality Ontario, under the guidance of the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee, recommends extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for cardiac indications be publicly funded at selected centres

Read the draft recommendation report

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When someone experiences cardiac arrest or cardiogenic shock, their heart suddenly stops beating properly and/or cannot pump enough oxygen-rich blood to their organs. Usual rescue therapies – such as CPR, medications, or pumps – are employed by emergency services or at the hospital as a temporary measure to keep the person alive until their heart restarts or they can have other life-saving treatment.

Extracorporeal (outside the body) membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a life support machine that can be used in hospital. It temporarily does the work of the heart and lungs, allowing the organs time to rest and the health care team time to identify treatment options. When used for cardiac arrest, ECMO is also called extracorporeal CPR, or ECPR.

This health technology assessment looked at how safe, effective, and cost-effective ECMO is for treating adults with cardiac arrest or cardiogenic shock when they do not respond to usual emergency care. It also looked at the budget impact of publicly funding ECMO and at the experiences, preferences, and values of people who have had experience with ECMO.

Read the full Health Technology Assessment report for more information.

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation for Cardiac Indications in Adults: A Health Technology Assessment (PDF)
August 2019

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About Health Quality Ontario

Health Quality Ontario is the provincial lead on the quality of health care. We help nurses, doctors and other health care professionals working hard on the frontlines be more effective in what they do—by providing objective advice and data, and by supporting them and government in improving health care for the people of Ontario.

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  • Finding the best evidence of what works, and

  • Translating this evidence into clinical standards; recommendations to health care professionals and funders; and tools that health care providers can easily put into practice to make improvements.

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