Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a method of supporting respiratory or cardio-respiratory failure. Oxygenation of the blood is performed outside the body across a membrane. When both an artery and vein are cannulated, cardiac support is possible. Usually the carotid artery and the internal jugular vein are cannulated to access the superior vena cava/right atrium and the aortic arch. If only veno-venous ECMO (as opposed to veno-arterial) is desired, then a dual lumen catheter can be placed in the venous system. Minimal ventilation of the lungs is performed and so the lungs may become opaque on subsequent radiographs.
The following radiograph demonstrates veno-arterial ECMO cannula in the right neck, an endotracheal tube and a nasogastric tube. Note the left lower lobe and right upper lobe consolidation.