Dignity Health Chandler launches new ECMO program

Apr 16, 2022, 6:30 AM | Updated: 12:28 pm

25 March 2022, Lower Saxony, Osnabrück: A nurse is caring for a patient in the intensive care unit...

25 March 2022, Lower Saxony, Osnabrück: A nurse is caring for a patient in the intensive care unit of a hospital who is seriously ill with corona. The patient is connected to an ECMO machine (membrane oxygenator) and sedated. Many patients with severe courses lie in the intensive care unit for several weeks, and about half of the artificially ventilated patients die. Photo: Friso Gentsch/dpa (Photo by Friso Gentsch/picture alliance via Getty Images)

(Photo by Friso Gentsch/picture alliance via Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Dignity Health Chandler Regional Medical Center recently launched a life-support machine program in an effort to provide Arizonans more access to lifesaving lung technology in the Valley.

The East Valley medical center program, which launched March 1, is led by intensivist Frances Maguire, as well as five other intensivists, and 15 trained ECMO nurses and respiratory therapists, according to a press release.

“The earlier we can treat qualifying patients with ECMO, the higher the likelihood of quicker recovery times and the possibility of improved quality of life for the patient post-treatment,” Maguire said in the release.

“Treating these patients requires significant training, careful planning and true dedication as the recovery process using this technology usually takes week and sometimes month.”

The lifesaving ECMO machine is used for patients awaiting lung or heart transplants, or have a life-threatening illness that keeps their lung or heart from working correctly.

It gained media attention when medical teams began using it for the most severe COVID-19 patients, the release said.

The program was funded by the Gila River Indian Community and has been in progress for years.

Previously, Dignity Health in Chandler worked with Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center to transfer cases for patients that required the treatment.

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Dignity Health Chandler launches new ECMO program