HCA Healthcare/HealthONE’s The Medical Center of Aurora Announces ECMO Program

HCA Healthcare/HealthONE’s The Medical Center of Aurora Announces ECMO Program
Aurora, CO, October 01, 2018 --(PR.com)-- HCA Healthcare/HealthONE’s The Medical Center of Aurora (TMCA) announced that, under the direction of Dr. Michael Firstenberg, they have started an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, or ECMO, program. The program, which launched in late summer, is the product of a multidisciplinary team effort due to the complexities of the treatment and of the patients being treated with this therapy.

Much like dialysis is a therapy for patients with kidney failure, ECMO is a sophisticated temporary therapy for patients with severe heart and/or lung failure – such as might be seen in severe cases of the flu or after a massive heart attack. Dr. Firstenberg, a board-certified cardiac surgeon who practices at Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery Associates, is well known in the medical world and is particularly known for his work with ECMO. In 2016, he wrote a book titled, Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, Advances in Therapy, and is an expert in the field of ECMO. He has lectured extensively worldwide on the topic.

In the past, doctors used ECMO as a treatment when all other treatments had failed. The therapy was a last effort to keep very sick patients alive. Today, however, doctors at tertiary care facilities are using ECMO as a safe, effective therapy for patients who are experiencing acute cardiac and/or pulmonary failure. Among those successfully treated since the inception of the facility’s program are two women with young children. Neither would have lived without the intervention.

“The ECMO program adds important resources to our cardiopulmonary programs, and TMCA has become a top regional tertiary care center with the addition of Dr. Firstenberg and new programs in Endocarditis, Pulmonary Hypertension, Heart Failure, Complex Valve Disease and High-Risk Heart Surgery,” says Dr. Dianne McCallister, Chief Medical Officer at The Medical Center of Aurora and Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital.

The program began as an idea when Dr. Firstenberg arrived and morphed into a project that required significant planning and prepping at TMCA. Dr. McCallister says, “This program doesn’t run without a collaboration between physicians of various specialties, who are working closely together to determine when ECMO is medically appropriate as an added therapy for a patient.” She continues, “A number of departments and physicians working together is what created our program. When the ECMO team is mobilized, it’s typically been in the midst of an emergent situation, and while we will continue that treatment in emergency situations, our team also has the option now to begin ECMO therapy earlier in a case rather than waiting until the situation has become dire and the patient’s life is significantly in jeopardy.”

“The implementation of an ECMO program is a significant advance for TMCA’s Acute Respiratory Failure program, which also treat conditions such as severe pneumonias (including the flu), massive blood clots to the lung, and severe asthma attacks,” says Dr. Firstenberg. “This important supportive treatment provides an option for our sickest patients to give their lungs a chance to heal and to sustain life as their body recovers from an illness. ECMO is now an option for more patients and is no longer used as only a last effort for a dying patient. Instead, we are able to use the therapy earlier in the course of treatment to allow the body to heal over the course of a few days to a few weeks. We are prepared to accept patients from other institutions that do not have this therapy to help save lives in our community.”

To learn more about TMCA’s award-winning cardiac care, please visit AuroraMed.com.

About The Medical Center of Aurora

The Medical Center of Aurora, the first community hospital in the Denver Metro area to receive two-time Magnet designation for nursing excellence by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), is a 346-bed acute care hospital located in Aurora, Colorado. The Medical Center of Aurora is comprised of six campuses in Aurora and Centennial, Colo., including the South Campus, located at Interstate 225 and Mississippi, the North Campus Behavioral Health and Wellness Center, Centennial Medical Plaza, Saddle Rock ER, Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital, Spalding Rehabilitation at P/SL, and a medical office building at Green Valley Ranch. The South Campus facility is a Level II Trauma Center with Primary Stroke Certification and Chest Pain Center accreditation, and has an affiliation with Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children as well as the Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute. The Medical Center of Aurora received ‘A’ grades from The Leapfrog Group (Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018), was Colorado’s only hospital to receive the Leapfrog Top General Hospital designation two years in a row (2016, 2017), and was recognized as a Best Regional Hospital by U.S. News & World Report (2014-2015, 2017-2018, 2018-2019). The Medical Center of Aurora and its affiliated campuses are part of the HealthONE System. Learn more at AuroraMed.com.
The Medical Center of Aurora
Laura Stephens