ECMO & ECLS | Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation

ECMO 101: Introductory Modules


The ECMO 101 Course is an online, web-based course that addresses basic elements in the delivery of veno-venous (V-V) and veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (V-A ECMO). Topics include physiology, circuitry and technical aspects, related pharmacology, and management of complications.

Target Learners

The course is designed for healthcare professionals who participate in the management of patients with refractory respiratory or circulatory failure requiring extracorporeal life support. This includes providers in critical care, intensive care, emergency medicine, emergency response, cardiology, and anesthesiology. Participants should possess basic knowledge in the management of the critically-ill patient with multiple organ failure. This course is part of an ELSO initiative to increase global accessibility to educational materials on ECMO. Access to the course material is provided at no cost to all users after email registration.

Course Objectives

At the conclusion, participants should be able to:

  1. Describe indications and limitations of ECMO in management of severe respiratory or circulatory failure.
  2. Identify different components and configurations of the ECMO circuit.
  3. Demonstrate understanding of dynamic changes in physiology during ECMO.
  4. Address considerations in general management of the patient on ECMO.
  5. Formulate a framework to troubleshoot complications arising during ECMO.

Course Format / Time

The ECMO 101 Course is composed of 6 online modules and requires approximately 6 hours to complete.


  1. Introduction and history of ECMO
  2. Indications and evidence for ECMO
  3. The ECMO circuit
  4. Physiology of ECMO
  5. General patient management during ECMO
  6. Common scenarios and complications during ECMO

There is no certificate for completing this course.


(i) Chief editors Pauline Yeung Ng, Christin Carroll

(ii) Advisors Mark Ogino, Bishoy Zakhary

(iii) Content contributors - Asia-Pacific ELSO (Modules 1 and 2): Anne Hoo, Peter Lai, Pauline Yeung Ng, Jayne Sheldrake, Simon Sin - Latin America ELSO (Module 3): Rodrigo Diaz, Leonardo Salazar - North America ELSO (Module 4): Chris Beaty, Curt Froehlich, William Lynch, Marc Priest - South West Asia and Africa ELSO (Module 5): Akram Abdelbary Ahmed, Hani Al Dalaty, Ibrahim Mohamed Fawzy Hassan, Malaika Hedwig Mendonca - EuroELSO (Module 6): Mark Davidson, Margaret Farley, Simon Finney, Chirine Mossadegh, Claire Westrope

(iv) Technical support Peter Rycus, Paul Makhnovskiy, Elizabeth Moore

(v) Special credits - Qatar University ECMO simulator team for the pump head noise audio file (Al Disi M., Alsalemi A., Alhomsi Y., Bensaali F., Amira A., Alinier G.) - Alfred ICU and Vincent Pellegrino for the cannula chatter video file, Jose Alfonso Rubio Mateo-Sidron for the Spanish translations