Cardiothoracic Surgery in the COVID Crisis: ECMO Challenges and Considerations

Cardiothoracic surgeons around the globe quickly adapted to the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic. Among the issues has been an increased need for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), without the required resources to meet the demand. This week's special webinar involved discussions focused on the use of ECMO to treat COVID-positive patients. Moderators Amy E. Hackmann, MD, Jonathan W. Haft, MD, and Nicholas R. Teman, MD, were joined by surgeons from major cities in the US, China, and France. In the webinar they:

  • Explained the role of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) in guiding physicians and other practitioners through preparations for the COVID pandemic
  • Provided information about the use of ECMO to treat COVID patients in Shanghai
  • Shared experiences from an established ECMO center in Paris, where more than 150 patients have been treated for COVID with extracorporeal life support
  • Answered questions and provided current recommendations for COVID management with ECMO, including indications/contraindications, anticoagulation, tracheostomy, and prone positioning 
  • Addressed use of personnel, time, and equipment-intense therapy in the setting of limited health care resources 

This webinar was supported by Medtronic.


Amy E. Hackmann, MD 
The University of Texas Southwestern
Dallas, TX

Jonathan W. Haft, MD
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
View Dr. Haft's presentation slides

Nicholas R. Teman, MD
University of Virginia Health System
Charlottesville, VA


Daniel Brodie, MD
Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and 
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
New York, NY

Zachary N. Kon, MD
NYU Langone Health
New York, NY

Guillaume Lebreton, MD, PhD
Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, AP-HP
Paris, France
View Dr. Lebreton's presentation slides

Xin Li, MD
Zhongshan Hospital Fudan University
Shanghai, China
View Dr. Li's presentation slides

Rita Karianna Milewski, MD, PhD, MSEd
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

Nader Moazami, MD
NYU Langone Health
New York, NY