Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation in COVID-19

Crit Care Clin. 2022 Jul;38(3):535-552. doi: 10.1016/j.ccc.2022.01.004. Epub 2022 Jan 10.


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is an intervention for severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Although COVID-19-related ARDS has some distinct features, its overall clinical presentation resembles ARDS from other etiologies. Thus, similar evidence-based practices for its management should be applied. These include lung-protective ventilation, prone positioning, and adjuvant strategies, such as ECMO, when appropriate. Current evidence suggests that ECMO in COVID-19-related ARDS has similar efficacy and safety profile as for non-COVID-19 ARDS. The high number of severe COVID-19 cases and demand for therapies, such as ECMO, poses a unique opportunity to increase the understanding on how to optimize this intervention.

Keywords: ARDS; COVID-19; ECMO; Prone positioning.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / therapy
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation*
  • Humans
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome* / etiology
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome* / therapy