Since 2009, Saint Luke’s has used Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) to save the lives of more than 95 people who were facing cardiac or respiratory failure. ECMO can fully support the heart and lungs until the underlying problem is resolved or organ transplantation occurs. Saint Luke’s is the region’s most experienced adult ECMO program. Here are just a few of the amazing stories from patients who received ECMO support.
Caroline Meyer, 29 years old
VA ECMO: 4 days
On July 2, 2015, Caroline underwent a heart transplant due to a condition called giant cell myocarditis. This disease causes inflammation of the heart and eventually heart failure. Although rare, it is often fatal and there is no treatment except for heart transplantation. Unfortunately, after her new heart was implanted, it did not function—a condition known as primary graft failure.
Caroline was placed on VA ECMO, which allowed for total cardiac support until she could receive another heart. Four days later she received her second heart, which worked beautifully, and she eventually made a full recovery. She now lives in Colorado and is doing an internship in veterinary medicine.