Physiology of Gas Exchange During ECMO for Respiratory Failure

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Abstract

Management of gas exchange using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in respiratory failure is very different than management when the patient is dependent on mechanical ventilation. All the gas exchange occurs in the membrane lung, and the arterial oxygenation is the result of mixing the ECMO blood with the native venous blood. To manage patients on ECMO, it is essential to understand the physiology described in this essay.

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