From Last Resort to Mainstay: The Evolution of ECMO in Critical Care

The Wall Street Journal article discusses the ethical considerations for hospitals regarding Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) due to its increasing success rates in treating critically ill patients. The technology has greatly improved survival rates, with some cases exceeding 70%. Its efficacy has been validated by recent studies, making it comparable to other life-saving interventions like organ transplants. Technological advancements have contributed to the increase in patient survival rates, along with improved patient selection and healthcare provider education and training. However, despite its life-saving capability, ECMO is vastly underutilized, with only 1% of eligible patients receiving treatment. There is an opportunity to save countless lives by expanding access to ECMO.

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