*ECMO = Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation.
LTC Campbell: "This is a device that takes unoxygenated venous blood, circulates it through a pump and filter, adds oxygen, takes away carbon dioxide and returns it to a patient. In this case, we took a very large cannula (tube) and inserted it into the patient's right internal jugular vein and threaded it down past the heart into his inferior vena cava. The machine then, via a hole in the end of the cannula, pumped the unoxygenated blood that was returning to the heart into the oxygenator on the pump, and added oygen to the blood and also removed carbon dioxide before returning it to the patient via an upper opening in the cannula near the heart. Its purpose is to help get oxygenated blood into a patient who has severe lung damage which prevents it from funcitoning normally. The lungs' function is to remove carbon dioxide and take in oxygen.
"This was a very unorthodox thing to do out here in the middle of nowhere. One of our surgeons had worked with this device back home, and had brought a portable unit with him. This was the first time any of us are aware of that this technology was used in a combat environment. It bought the patient time.
"You can see the controller underneath the table. The centrifuge pump is the circular device clamped to the table leg. The oxygenator is the white box taped to the other leg of the table. You can see one limb of the cannula extracing darker blood, entering the centrifuge, exiting the centrifuge, entering the oxygenator and then exiting the oxygenator back into the internal jugular. You can also see that the return limb has brighter oxygenated blood."
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