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OU Medicine Life Support Program Achieves Recognition for Excellence

OU Medicine Life Support Program Achieves Recognition for Excellence


Published: Friday, July 24, 2020

OU Medicine leaders recently received notification that OU Medical Center has been named a recipient of the Silver Level Pathway to Excellence in Life Support Award, presented by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization. The award recognizes
OU Medical Center’s extracorporeal life support program, established according to ELSO guidelines, and represents significant achievement toward becoming an ELSO Center of Excellence.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), also known as extracorporeal life support (ECLS), is an advanced life-saving technique, which provides prolonged cardiac and respiratory support, useful in a critical-care situations. Blood is pumped outside the body to a heart-lung machine where carbon dioxide is removed and oxygen-filled blood is transported back to the tissues in the body. In this way, the heart and lungs are allowed to rest and heal while the body continues to receive vital supplies of blood and oxygen. It is used for patients with conditions of the heart and lungs, or those waiting for or recovering from a heart transplant. In some cases, it may be used when other life support measures have not worked. It is not a treatment or a cure, but can sustain life for a matter of hours, or sometimes weeks, depending on the condition.

Ryan Kennedy, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Surgery, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, and associate director of the trauma intensive care unit at OU Medical Center, said, “This is an amazing acknowledgement of our efforts to develop adult ECMO services at OU Medical Center.”

The commendation comes after a relatively short time, only 20 months after embarking on program eligibility and participation. Kennedy also noted the impressive score achieved. “A minimum score of 500 is required for eligibility, with an average score of 593. At 620, our score demonstrates we’re well ahead of the curve toward designation as a center of excellence.”

OU Medical Center will become eligible for Center of Excellence designation after meeting the minimum three-year requirement of good standing within ELSO. During this time, the hospital will continue to pursue requirements in various categories required for the excellence designation.

Acknowledging the outstanding team contributions toward this achievement, Kennedy also commended the individual efforts of Cameron Butler, R.N. “Cameron’s steadfast dedication and problem-solving skills are the binding ‘glue’ of this program that promotes successful outcomes for patients. He is the only provider dedicated 24/7 to this cause. I congratulate all members involved in the success of this program and thank each of you for your continued support.”

The award presentation ceremony will be part of the 31st annual ELSO conference to be held virtually in September.