Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Program


The Breathe of Life

Last year, the Sandoval family — Julia, Roland, and their six-year-old daughter, Chevelle — was looking forward to celebrating Christmas. Then, Chevelle’s sudden illness nearly took their breath away.

Learn more about Chevelle's recovery.

The ECMO program at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio has been serving the critically ill infants and children of San Antonio since 1989 and has been internationally recognized as an Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) designated “Center of Excellence.” The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio has remained the most active, comprehensive, and experienced neonatal, pediatric, and cardiac ECMO center in South-Central Texas for nearly 30 years, providing ECMO treatment to more than 170 critically ill patients.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is available for critically ill infants and children with severe lung or heart problems, or certain birth anomalies. ECMO patients are cared for in our hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Using a multidisciplinary approach, our team of specially trained intensive care physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists work to provide the best and most complete care to our patients.

Chevelle's Story

When Chevelle was just two months of age, she experienced a seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy. Though a serious condition, epilepsy had been something Chevelle learned to live with and had not prevented her from enjoying an active life or diminished her charismatic personality. Chevelle's Story

In This Section:

Emergency Transport Services

Our Emergency Transport Teams are capable of transporting critically ill neonates and infants and pediatric patients ranging from small infants to adolescents suffering from a wide variety of illnesses and injuries. Teams have the ability to transport these patients by ground ambulance, helicopter, or fixed-wing aircraft.

For Physicians

Our neonatologists and pediatric intensivists have extensive training and experience in the evaluation and treatment of infants and children with life-threatening medical, surgical, and congenital conditions. We also have a specialized team of experienced nurses, respiratory therapists, and perfusionists, knowledgeable in ECMO that assist with management.

Issac Garza

Isaac Garza was brought to The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, needing a life-saving ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) procedure. ECMO uses a machine to take over the work of the lungs and sometimes the heart while a patient recovers. 

Our Team

With more than 480 years of combined experience, our team of physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists have extensive training in the evaluation and treatment of infants and children on ECMO. 
  • What is ECMO?
  • How does ECMO work?
  • Who needs ECMO?
  • Types of ECMO
  • Outcomes