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How we do ED– ECMO

Summary by: Zack Shinar

ECMO or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation has shown promise in the use of cardiac arrest patients. Zack Shinar and his crew from San Diego have lead the way in emergency physician initiated ECMO for patients in cardiac arrest.

In this lecture he explains briefly how ECMO works, what their outcomes have been and where ECMO is moving. Initially 5 of their first 8 patients were neurologically intact survivors. Their first patient had over an hour of downtime when cardiac bypass was initiated. He walked out of the hospital completely neurologically intact nine days later and now has been featured on the film “Code Black”. Physicians from their hospital, Sharp Memorial, were also recently featured on the television show “Untold Stories in the ER” for a save of a 21 year old female arresting from hyperkalemia. Dr. Shinar also discusses some of the latest physiologic questions as the Australians have pushed for smaller diameter catheters that allow for smaller flow volumes.

He also discusses how in Paris pre-hospital ECMO is being done by physicians in various places like the subway, apartment buildings and even the Louvre.

In the end, Dr. Shinar discusses the biggest question in any novel resuscitation technique: cost. Prolongation of life and particularly after a cardiac arrest is expensive and many people do not survive.

Dr. Shinar uses various pioneers in the world of technology to tell how true genius is not in technologic advancements but in making those advancements available to the masses. He ends with a story about Linus Torvalds. Dr. Shinar shows how this man through the use of the collective minds of computer programmers worldwide created one of the best operating systems ever created: Linux. He asks the medical community to endorse this idea and introduces the concept of “free open access medical innovation”.


The Podcast

The Slides


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