Extra corporeal membrane oxygenation support: ethical dilemmas

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment | Bioethics and Medical Ethics


The vast expansion of patients treated with of extra corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) emerge novel ethical questions about the use of this new technology. In regard the indications, duration of support and timing of withdrawal of support, these questions sometimes create disagreement among surrogates, between health care team and surrogates, and even disagreement among health care team, these disagreements occurs because of the extreme emergency of support initiation, the ambiguity of the outcome as well as lack of clarity on the intended treatment direction, whether it is ineffective, bridge to recovery or bridge to lifetime mechanical support or transplant. In this article we discuss these questions through patients' scenarios.

DOI of Published Version



Ann Transl Med. 2017 Mar;5(5):112. doi: 10.21037/atm.2017.01.38. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Annals of translational medicine

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID