UPMC, AHN & Pittsburgh VA Healthcare Form Western PA ECMO Collaboration Team

Colleagues from UPMC, Allegheny Health Network (AHN) and Pittsburgh VA Healthcare have formed the Western Pennsylvania ECMO Collaboration Team to provide expertise and advice on the use of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) for COVID-19 patients. The collaboration was spearheaded by Holt Murray, MD from UPMC and Michael Collins, MD, from AHN.

“Michael Collins and I recognized that in these challenging times we require a team effort for the benefit of all COVID-19 patients across our western PA community,” said Holt Murray, MD, who is co-director of the ECMO Collaboration Team and medical director of the Cardiothoracic ICU at UPMC Presbyterian. “Through the ECMO Collaboration, we’ve developed a set of uniform regional criteria for selection of COVID-19 patients who will benefit from ECMO support.”

Dr. Murray added that in the western Pennsylvania tri-state region only a few centers have expertise in ECMO use despite ECMO being well established as rescue therapy for a select group of patients with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). While the COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented number of patients suffering respiratory distress, not all patients will benefit from ECMO support.

The Regional ECMO Criteria for COVID-19 gives providers across the region details on:

  • Indications for VV ECMO
  • Standard contraindications
  • A dynamic assessment tool
  • When to call for a consultation

The ECMO Collaboration Team comprises 14 physicians who are available 24/7 to provide immediate guidance and counsel on which patients will benefit from specialized ECMO support. Drs. Murray and Collins encourage physicians to call for an ECMO consultation (a) prior to initiating ECMO support, (b) at the time of prone ventilation, (c) when considering inhaled nitric oxide or inhaled Epoprostenol, and (d) before starting alternative ventilator strategies. The UPMC MedCall number is 412-647-7000 and the AHN OneCall number is 412-359-8066.

Western Pennsylvania ECMO Collaboration Team

Holt Murray, MD, ECMO Collaboration Team co-director, UPMC Presbyterian

Michael Collins, MD, ECMO Collaboration Team co-director, AHN Allegheny General

Stephen Bailey, MD, AHN Allegheny General

Chris Brackney, DO, Pittsburgh VA Healthcare

Danny Chu, MD, Pittsburgh VA Healthcare

Subbarao Elapavaluru, MD, AHN Allegheny General

Hernando Gómez, MD, UPMC Presbyterian

Michael Lazar, MD, UPMC Susquehanna

Peter Linden, MD, AHN Allegheny General

Mubashir Mumtaz, MD, UPMC Pinnacle

Raj Padmanabhan, MD, UPMC Presbyterian

Dennis Phillips, DO, UPMC Presbyterian

Pablo Sanchez, MD, UPMC Presbyterian

Chris Sciortino, MD, UPMC Presbyterian