Cardiology Coding Alert

Reader Questions:

Learn About 2 Methods of ECMO

Question: What are the two different methods of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)?

Wisconsin Subscriber

Answer: The first method of ECMO is veno-arterial (VA). This procedure takes blood from a vein and returns it to an artery. VA ECMO supports both the heart and the lungs. VA ECMO also requires that your physician place two cannula(e) — one in a large vein and one in a large artery.

Method 2: The second method of ECMO is veno-venous (VV). VV ECMO takes blood from a vein and returns it to a vein. VV EMCO supports lung function only and requires one or two cannulas, which your physician will place in a vein.

Don’t miss: You may also see the term “extracorporeal life support (ECLS)” in your physician’s medical documentation. ECLS is the same as ECMO. This procedure allows a compromised heart and/or lungs to rest by providing blood oxygenation and carbon dioxide clearance outside of the body. The patient’s blood is removed, treated, and returned to the body via cannula(e), or thin tube(s).