We provide care, treatment and support for critically ill patients when conventional heart and lung support provided in ICU has failed.

Key points

  • The RMH ICU is a major Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) service (Tier 2) working within the Victorian ECMO Service (VECMOS), managing more than 20 cases per year
  • We provide care, treatment and support for critically-ill patients when conventional heart and lung support have failed
  • Patients receiving ECMO at the RMH receive highly specialised care from a team including intensivists, specialist nurses, surgeons,  perfusion scientists, and other medical nursing and allied health staff 

What we do

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) provides temporary life support for critically-ill patients with reversible respiratory and cardiac failure.

ECMO is a form of heart and lung support where blood is oxygenated by an artificial lung and is returned to the body by an external pump. ECMO may be initiated in the Emergency Department, operating theatre, cardiac catheter laboratory or the Intensive Care Unit. Further care is managed in the Intensive Care Unit by a team of specialists including intensivists, highly specialised nurses, surgeons, medical doctors and perfusion scientists.

Patients receiving ECMO require highly specialised care from medical and nursing teams. Medical and nursing ECMO specialists undertake extensive additional training program in addition to their standard ICU training.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital is a Tier 2 ECMO hospital within VECMOS, managing more than 20 cases a year, including patients received from other Victorian hospitals. The Victorian ECMO Service (VECMOS) is a networked statewide ECMO service. It was implemented in 2020 through the Victorian Department of Health and Safer Care Victoria.

Leadership of the ECMO service at the RMH ICU includes a medical lead, ECMO coordinators and the RMH ECMO Working Group.

We contribute high quality data collected by the ECMO coordinator and data team, with support from:

ECMO console and oxygen blender
ECMO console and oxygen blender
For patients
For health professionals

Links & documents

Victorian ECMO Service (VECMOS)
The Victorian ECMO Service (VECMOS) is a state-wide collaboration of hospitals and ambulance service that provides ECMO for critically ill people.
Head of service
Dr James Anstey
Contact us
Intensive Care Unit
(03) 9342 7000
Contact the switchboard and ask to speak to Intensive Care Unit
The RMH Parkville
Level 6 B Building
300 Grattan St, Parkville, Victoria
Last updated 14 March 2023