UCSF Fresno-CRMC Partnership Offers Life-Saving Technology

Technology known as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ECMO, coupled with a special, high level care medical team, is giving patients with life threatening respiratory or cardiac failure new hope for life. The team launched at CRMC last August. Timothy Evans, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at UCSF Fresno and medical director of the CRMC medical intensive care units led the effort. The team consists of an intensivist, surgeons, cardiologist, specialized nurses, perfusionist, respiratory therapist and physical therapists. ECMO works by pumping and oxygenating a patient’s blood outside of their body. Blood is pumped through catheters and oxygenated, taking out carbon dioxide before it is warmed to body temperature and returned to the patient. This allows the organs to rest and heal. The program is unique in the Valley because of its accreditation and the medical team’s approach. The team has been critical to saving lives over the past months. Thanks to team ECMO, the survival rate has improved significantly to about 70 percent – above the national average.