A system-wide extracorporeal membrane oxygenation quality collaborative improves patient outcomes

Baylor Scott & White ECMO Collaborative Working Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) use in adult patient populations has grown rapidly with wide variation in practices and outcomes. We evaluated the impact on patient outcomes, resource use, and costs of an initiative to coordinate and standardize best practices across ECMO programs within a large integrated health care system. Methods: The ECMO Collaborative Project brought clinicians and service-line leaders from 4 programs within a single health care system together with operational subject matter experts tasked with developing and implementing standardized guidelines, order sets, and an internal database to support an automated quarterly report card. Patient outcomes, resource use, and financial measures were compared for the 16 months before (January 2017 to April 2018; “precollaborative,” n = 185) versus the 14 months after (November 2018 to December 2019, “postcollaborative,” n = 243) a 6-month implementation and blanking period. Subset analyses were performed for venoarterial ECMO, venovenous ECMO, and extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Results: Survival to discharge/transfer increased significantly (in-hospital mortality hazard ratio, 0.75; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.58-0.99) for the postcollaborative versus the precollaborative period (107/185, 57.8% vs 113/243, 46.5%, P = .03), predominantly due to improvement among patients receiving venoarterial ECMO (hazard ratio, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.41-0.91). The percentage of patients successfully weaned from ECMO increased from 58.9% (109/185) to 70% (170/243), P = .02. Complication rates decreased by 40% (incidence rate ratio, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.49-0.72). No significant changes were observed in ECMO duration, intensive care unit or hospital length of stay, or cost-per-case; payment-per-case and contribution-margin-per-case both decreased significantly. Conclusions: The ECMO Collaborative Project improved survival to discharge/transfer, weaning rates and complications, without additional costs, through coordination and standardization across ECMO programs within a health care system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1366-1374.e9
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • ECMO
  • costs
  • quality improvement
  • standardization
  • survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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