Different cannulation types –
different treatment options[1]

Access to the patient’s vascular system is through cannulas for blood drainage and return. The type of cannulation depends on which organ needs support during ECMO treatment. The required blood flow determines the size of the cannulas.

Further material on cannulation can also be found on Heart & Lung Campus.

In general, distinction is made between veno-venous (VV) and veno-arterial (VA) ECMO:

VV ECMO – treatment for respiratory failure

  • Veno-venous extracorporeal life circuit
  • Supports mainly the lungs

Common cannulation forms:

  • Vena femoralis – Vena jugularis
  • Vena jugularis – Vena jugularis

VA ECMO – treatment for cardiac or cardiopulmonary failure

  • Veno-arterial extracorporeal life circuit
  • Supports the heart and lungs

Common cannulation forms:

  • Vena femoralis – Arteria femoralis
  • Vena jugularis – Arteria femoralis

A special form of VA ECMO is our synchronized cardiac support (SCS) treatment.

[1] Broman, L. M. et al.. (2019). The ELSO Maastricht Treaty for ECLS Nomenclature: abbreviations for cannulation configuration in extracorporeal life support – a position paper of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization. Crit Care, 23(1), 36