The ECMO Technology Saved the Lives of 200 Children at ZCH

14/08/2023 International Affairs Office

Since 2007, the ECMO team of Children's Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine (ZCH) , has brought over 200 children "back to life" through the application of ECMO technology. ZCH ranked first in China in terms of the number of pediatric ECMO cases in 2022 with an annual treatment of 48 cases. In the past 15 years, ZCH has carried out more than 300 ECMO cases, of which more than 200 cases have been successfully saved. 


ECMO is known as "artificial heart and lung", also known s the "last lifeline", as an advanced extracorporeal life support technology, it can temporarily replace the cardiopulmonary function of patients, maintain the life of patients, and buy more time for the treatment of the primary disease, in popular terms to understand, is to establish external artificial heart and lung for patients with acute respiratory or heart failure. 


ZCH is one of the earliest hospitals in China to carry out ECMO technology, and it is also a pathfinder in the field of pediatric ECMO treatment. As early as the beginning of the 21st century, when China just introduced ECMO technology, ZCH has begun to prepare for the establishment of ECMO team. In 2005, ZCH sent relevant experts to Taiwan District, where ECMO technology was relatively mature at that time, for training and learning. In 2007, ZCH applied ECMO technology for the first time to treat a neonate with congenital heart disease and achieved success. The child, who was only 6 days old and weighed only 2.8 kilograms, suffered severe complications such as pulmonary hemorrhage, bleeding, pericardial tamponade, hemolysis, hyperglycemia, and hyperbilirubinemia. Fortunately the baby survived after 58 days in ICU, setting the lowest weight and age record for an ECMO patient in Asia at that time.

The indications of ECMO include fulminant myocarditis, severe ARDS, neonatal diaphragmatic hernia in children. The survival rate and other indicators of the ECMO cases at ZCH have maintained the leading domestic and international advanced level. The survival discharge rate for 2007-2022 was 65.07%. Survival rate of over 65% of ECMO cases at ZCH reached the international advanced level.


Lin Ru, Director of the Department of Extracorporeal Circulation/Extracorporeal Life Support and head of the ECMO team says: "ECMO technology is not a single discipline of technology, it involves cardiothoracic surgery, care, cardiology, ultrasound, radiology and other departments, the need for collaboration between multiple departments."


Shu Qiang, Party Secretary of ZCH, adds, "as a top life support technology, ECMO represents a hospital, a region, and even a national level of critical care. As the National Clinical Medical Research Center for Child Health and the National Children's Regional Medical Center, ZCH will continue to play the leading role in pediatrics, so that more critically ill children across China can be rescued."