WVU Heart and Vascular Institute gains national recognition for life-saving ECMO treatment

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The WVU Heart and Vascular Institute has been presented the ELSO Center of Excellence Silver Life Support Award from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO). 

ECMO patient Charles Shoffler walks with the assistance of nurses and therapists
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute ECMO patient Charles Shoffler (center) walks with assistance from nurses and therapists.

The WVU Heart and Vascular Institute provides ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) to support patients with failing organ systems. ECMO is one of the most advanced forms of life support available to patients experiencing acute failure of the cardio-respiratory system. It allows time for the patient’s lungs or heart to heal by using a heart-lung machine to oxygenate the blood outside the body over a period of time.

“After commencing our thoughtfully planned evidence-based program in January 2018, we have managed complex patients from our region and around the state with excellent outcomes. This has been a close collaboration between the Heart and Vascular Institute, the WVU Trauma and Critical Care Institute, and WVU Medicine Children’s. Consistent with the mission purpose of WVU Medicine, we are proud to be able to provide another state first for West Virginia by helping provide high quality access to ECMO services to the sickest of the sick from around our state,” Vinay Badhwar, M.D., executive chair of the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, said. 

“The Silver Award is the highest possible quality ranking achievable for a program established for less than three years. To receive this recognition so early in our progress is a true testament to the outstanding multidisciplinary team members of physicians, perfusionists, ECMO specialists, nurses, administrators, and critical care providers that has been directed by Dr. J.W. Awori Hayanga.”

The Excellence in Life Support Award recognizes those centers that demonstrate an exceptional commitment to evidence-based processes and quality measures, staff training and continuing education, patient satisfaction, and ongoing clinical care. 
A designated Center of Excellence has demonstrated extraordinary achievement in the following three categories:

  1. Excellence in promoting the mission, activities, and vision of ELSO;
  2. Excellence in patient care by using the highest quality measures, processes, and structures based upon evidence; and
  3. Excellence in training, education, collaboration, and communication supporting ELSO guidelines that contribute to a healing environment for families, patients, and staff.

The ELSO Award of Excellence was developed to recognize ECLS Centers that utilize the ELSO Guidelines for ECMO Centers and Training and Education. Additionally, the ECMO Program is reviewed for indicator in Quality, Value of Care, and Benchmarking categories. It was first available for application in 2006. The awards will be presented at the 29th Annual ELSO Conference, which will be held Sept. 13-18 in Scottsdale, Arizona

The Extracorporeal Life Support Organization is an international non-profit consortium of healthcare centers and individuals who are dedicated to the development, evaluation, and improvement of ECMO and other innovative therapies for support of failing organ systems in the neonate, child, and adult. ELSO is made up of a broad multidisciplinary collaboration of physicians, nurses, perfusionists, respiratory therapists, technicians, researchers, and industry experts. Global chapters of ELSO provide education and expertise in ECMO delivery around the world.

For more information on the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, visit wvumedicine.org/heart.