Implementation and Outcomes of a Mobile Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Program in the United States During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2021 Oct;35(10):2869-2874

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic began in the United States around March 2020. Because of limited access to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in the authors’ region, a mobile ECMO team was implemented by April 2020 to serve patients with COVID-19. Several logistical and operational needs were assessed and addressed to ensure a successful program, including credentialing, equipment management, and transportation. A multidisciplinary team was included in the planning, decision-making, and implementation of the mobile ECMO. From April 2020 to January 2021, mobile ECMO was provided to 22 patients in 13 facilities across four southern California counties. The survival to hospital discharge of patients with COVID-19 who received mobile ECMO was 52.4% (11 of 21) compared with 45.2% (14 of 31) for similar patients cannulated in-house. No significant patient or transportation complications occurred during mobile ECMO. Neither the ECMO nor transport teams experienced unprotected exposures to or infections with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Herein, the implementation of the mobile ECMO team is reviewed, and patient characteristics and outcomes are described.