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.