Lutheran General Hospital

Presentation Notes

Quality Improvement poster presented at Nursing Passion: Re-Igniting the Art & Science, Advocate Aurora Health Nursing & Research Conference 2022; November 9, 2022; virtual.


Background/Introduction: ALGH expressed an interest in offering VenoVenous (VV) ECMO therapy but faced many challenges that prevented this from occurring. During the COVID-19 pandemic, evidence showed that conventional treatment measures failed however, VV ECMO therapy was proven to benefit this patient population. Globally, healthcare experienced overcrowding in the ICUs accompanied by bed shortages. Given the limited resources and support services available in addition to the knowledge that VV ECMO improved patient outcomes, ALGH decided to develop a formal ECMO program.

Local Problem: The challenge of implementing an ECMO program before COVID-19 was the lack of physician support and ownership of managing this patient population.

Method: The Advocate Intensivist Partners (AIP) joined ALGH in July 2020 and showed an interest in managing the VV ECMO population in the MCICU and supported the development of a nurse run program. 10 critical care nurses who met certain criteria were selected. Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, in person ECMO educational offerings were not being offered. An in-house educational program had to be developed and implemented while ensuring that the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) guidelines were followed. This included a 16-hour didactic portion covering specific topics, a written exam with a passing grade of 80% or higher, simulation sessions to solidify the nurses’ knowledge and competency with the ECMO pump, circuit management, and common troubleshooting scenarios. Collaboration between the MCICU educator, AIP physicians, clinical perfusionists, and the Simulation center occurred to develop the program.

Results/Conclusions:Today, our ECMO program has grown significantly, with approximately 40 critical care nurses trained. We obtained an ELSO membership, which provides us an opportunity to become more directly involved in the ECMO community. It also offers the benefit of benchmarking our data against other centers. Our ECMO survival rate is 72%, which is higher than the national average of 58%.

Document Type





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.