As COVID-19 primarily attacks the respiratory system, the INTEGRIS Health ECMO team played a significant role in the overall response to the pandemic.

Advanced Cardiac Care

INTEGRIS Health ECMO COVID Response Team

Photo of ECMO teamExtracorporeal membrane oxygenation, more commonly known as ECMO, is a lifesaving therapy that provides support to patients whose heart and/or lungs are so severely diseased or damaged that they can no longer serve their function.

Since COVID-19 primarily attacks the respiratory system, the INTEGRIS Health ECMO team played a significant role in the overall response to the pandemic. This group of specialists not only cared for patients at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center, where the program is housed, but traveled to retrieve patients from other hospitals as well. 

Photo of ECMO TeamReferring hospitals call the INTEGRIS Health ECMO hotline when all other treatment options available at that facility have been exhausted. These patients are on maximum ventilator support, maximum medication support and in desperate need of help quickly. The traveling team is on call 24/7 and is prepared to be en route to their destination within a 30-minute period.

If it is determined the patient is an appropriate candidate for ECMO therapy, the core team of ECMO physicians, coordinators and specialists travel to the referring hospital via air or ground to place the patient on ECMO and transport them back to INTEGRIS Health for a higher level of care. 

Emergency ECMO teamThe team that travels is made up of an ECMO physician, ECMO coordinator, ECMO specialist or perfusionist and a respiratory therapist. All team members are highly trained and skilled in critical care. They carry 150 lbs. of equipment with them including the necessary supplies to place the patient on ECMO support, IV pumps, the ECMO console, patient monitors, a portable ventilator, ECMO circuits, blood and medications. The ambulance or aircraft literally becomes a mobile ICU and care can be provided for the patient in the same exact way it is provided in a hospital setting. 

The transports can take anywhere from 6-12 hours depending on the distance traveled.

INTEGRIS Health ECMO teamSince the coronavirus reached Oklahoma in March of 2020, the INTEGRIS Health ECMO Team has received over 350 COVID referrals through the hotline number with 75 percent of those calls coming from outside the INTEGRIS Health System. Those calls have come from all over the region including the entire state of Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. The traveling ECMO COVID Response Team has completed almost 50 COVID ECMO transports to date, including six that were out of state as far as 250 miles. The work that INTEGRIS Health has done to support COVID-19 patients with ECMO has produced survival rates higher than the national average.

“It has been an honor to take care of the many Oklahomans and others in the region who were stricken by the COVID-19 virus,” says Aly El Banayosy, M.D., the Executive Director of the ECMO Program at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center. “Our elite team of ECMO physicians, ECMO specialists, perfusionists, respiratory therapists, advanced practice providers and bedside nurses are the best of the best and we will continue to take care of Oklahomans and beyond anywhere and anytime we are needed, whether there is a pandemic or not.”

INTEGRIS Health has the largest comprehensive mobile ECMO program in the state and has treated over 700 patients with ECMO since the program started in 2014. 

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