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Bristol ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) centre

Bristol is one of six centrally-funded ECMO centres in England.

The type of ECMO provided in Bristol, known as veno-venous (VV) ECMO, is used when a patient has a critical respiratory condition which prevents the lungs from functioning normally. ECMO is a supportive measure that uses an artificial lung (membrane) located outside the body (extra corporeal) that puts oxygen into the blood (oxygenation) and returns it to the body.

In Bristol, the service is provided in a joint partnership between North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) and University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW). The development of the Bristol ECMO service is supported by the existing ECMO centres at St Thomas' Hospital and the Royal Brompton Hospital.

All ECMO referrals should continue to go through the national ECMO referral website.

Typical patients suitable for ECMO include those with reversible disease associated with severe hypoxaemia (e.g. PaO2/FiO2 < 13.3kPa) or severe hypercapnic acidosis (e.g. pH < 7.20) despite conventional support. 

But we welcome discussions about any patient with potentially reversible severe acute respiratory failure, particularly those in whom adequate arterial blood gases cannot be achieved using lung protective tidal volumes and pressures. 

We encourage early referral and provide tailored solutions according to the requirements of the patient and referring centre. 

The potential benefits of ECMO as a lung protective strategy diminish after about one week of conventional ventilation at high pressure and high-inspired oxygen.

Initially the service will provide ECMO support for patients in the local Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire area but with experience the aim will be to provide a 24/7 ECMO retrieval service. This page will be updated once the service is available for the wider South West peninsula region.

Our ECMO leadership team

  • Dr Stefan Gurney, Bristol ECMO Operational Lead
  • Emily Pass, ECMO Lead Nurse
  • David Machin, ECMO Lead Perfusionist
  • Tom Lunn, ECMO Lead Physiotherapist
  • Ya-Hui Liang, ECMO Lead Pharmacist
  • Katherine Reader, ECMO Project Manager

ECMO consultants

  • Dr Chris Bordeaux
  • Dr Stefan Gurney
  • Dr Adrian Wagstaff

ECMO nurse specialists

  • Emily Pass
  • Catia Paiva Sorrilha
  • Eve Jenessa Castro Dignadice
  • Hannah Popper
  • Katie Lackey
  • Isabelle Spiler
  • Alexandra Jenkins
  • Rita Anne Hanley
  • Carly Smith
  • Jenna Cooling