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Extracorporeal life support program honored by ELSO

Aug. 6, 2020, 9:27 AM


by Matt Batcheldor

Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s extracorporeal life support (ECLS) program has received the gold level award for excellence in life support from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO).

VUMC’s ECLS program offers a life-saving medical treatment called ECMO, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, a life-sustaining mechanical system that temporarily takes over for the heart and lungs of critically ill patients, allowing them to rest and recover. Operating for more than 25 years, VUMC’s ECMO program is the first and largest in Middle Tennessee and one of the largest in the nation, serving more than 100 patients per year.

Last year, the ECLS program at VUMC became one of the first in the country to expand ECMO from its longtime home in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) into the Medical (MICU) and Trauma intensive care units. This year, the ECLS program began exporting its expertise to other medical centers, beginning with Ballad Health, a regional health care system serving East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

The ELSO Excellence in Life Support Award recognizes ECLS programs worldwide that distinguish themselves by having processes, procedures and systems in place that promote excellence and exceptional care. ELSO’s goal is to recognize and honor ECLS programs that reach the highest level of performance, innovation and quality.

As a designated Center of Excellence, VUMC’s ECLS program demonstrated achievement in the following three categories:

  • Excellence in promoting the mission, activities and vision of ELSO;
  • Excellence in patient care by using the highest quality measures, processes and structures based upon evidence, and;
  • Excellence in training, education, collaboration and communication supporting ELSO guidelines that contribute to a healing environment for families, patients and staff.

“We are honored to have our work recognized by ELSO and to be able to deliver this level of exceptional care to the patients in our region,” said Lynne Craig, RN, VUMC ECMO coordinator. “This award is truly the result of the entire team’s collective efforts.”

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