ECMO on the Fly, First in Nebraska

CHI Health Good Samaritan AirCare, the longest operating original air ambulance service in Nebraska, recently added another first to its 35-year history – the first and only flight program in Nebraska to transport adult and pediatric patients while on ECMO.

ECMO, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, is technology developed to bypass the heart and lungs. A patient’s blood is routed into the machine, carbon dioxide is removed, oxygen is added and the blood is pumped back into the body. Portable technology is bringing this life-saving machine out of the operating room and into the air.

“We can start the patient on portable ECMO at Good Samaritan and safely fly them anywhere,” said Fernando Yepes, MD, an anesthesiologist and critical care specialist at CHI Health Good Samaritan, a Level II Trauma Center.

Good Samaritan’s specialized ECMO transport team includes a pilot, two certified flight nurses and a perfusionist.

Kimball photo