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Children’s Hospital ECMO program lands excellence award

Aug. 13, 2020, 10:05 AM


by Christina Echegaray

For the fifth straight time, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt’s heart-lung support program has received the ELSO Award — Gold Level for Excellence in Life Support by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO).

Children’s Hospital was the first in Tennessee to use extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, with the first patient placed on ECMO in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

The program, the oldest in the state, began 31 years ago and is one of the most successful in the world, having placed about 1,300 babies on the machine.

ECMO is a life-support system that oxygenates the blood through a machine that then returns the oxygenated blood back into the body either through the arteries or veins. The mobile machine is used both in and outside the operating room and can support vital heart and lung function for weeks at a time until organ function is returned or until transplant.

“Daphne Hardison and the bedside specialists at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt have developed one of the world’s best ECMO programs. For us, the ELSO Award of Excellence is the ultimate recognition of all of their efforts and hard work,” said Brian Bridges, MD, the ECMO program’s medical director.

The ELSO award is given only to those ECMO programs worldwide that reach the highest level of performance, innovation, satisfaction and quality, and that distinguish themselves by having processes, procedures and systems in place that promote excellence and exceptional care.

The ELSO Award of Excellence, good for three years, is recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Parents magazine as one of the criteria used in ranking top institutions.

ELSO is an international consortium of health care professionals and scientists dedicated to the development and evaluation of new therapies for supporting failing organ systems.

The Children’s Hospital ECMO team consists of a broad array of specialists, including ECMO specialists, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, nutritionists and intensive care unit physicians and surgeons.

“The team members function with an emphasis on quality of care and safety always at the forefront. It is an honor to be recognized by ELSO for our continued commitment to improving quality of care and patient and family quality of life,” said Daphne Hardison, RN, MSN, CNML, ECMO program manager at Children’s Hospital.


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