Specialized ambulance for heart and lung patients unveiled in Oklahoma City

The large rig has the capacity to carry more oxygen and can also serve as a bariatric truck

Adam Kemp
The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City

OKLAHOMA CITY — Integris Health and the Emergency Medical Services Authority announced a new tool in the fight to save lives in Oklahoma.

A new EMSA ambulance was unveiled outside the emergency room of Integris Health on Monday afternoon as doctors, nurses and EMTs gathered to take a look.

The new unit, designated “ECMO 1,” will provide support to patients whose heart and/or lungs are no longer functioning due to disease or damage such as a heart attack, cardiac surgery, pulmonary embolism, near drowning or lung-related issues such as flu or pneumonia.

ECMO, an abbreviation for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, is an advanced life-saving therapy.

“In such conditions, ECMO can be considered a life-saving machine,” said Dr. Aly El Banayosy. “Transporting those patients is very essential and a very important part. To be able to transport safely and to be capable of transporting patients on ECMO, we are glad we are partnering with EMSA.”

Medical instruments within the ambulance will allow the heart or lungs to rest and recover while the machines do the work in transport.

Integris Health developed one of the first-in-the-state ECMO units in 2014, serving more than 500 patients in that time and helping heal hearts and lungs so they can work on their own and patients can be removed from ECMO support.

Special attention was paid to the layout of the ambulance to make sure the patients could receive the critical clinical care they needed, said EMSA President Jim Winham.

EMSA employees worked with Integris doctors to help design the ambulances so five ECMO team members in addition to the patient could comfortably and safely travel long distances.

A second ECMO ambulance will be stationed on the east side of the state.

Additionally, the larger ambulance also has the capacity to carry more oxygen and other medical gasses that are needed for ECMO patients.

When it’s not in service as an ECMO unit, the ambulance can also serve as a bariatric truck with a lift capacity up to 1,500 pounds.

“Patients can be treated from all sides,” Winham said. “Our sole purpose at EMSA is to take care of patients and this is a prime example of that.”


©2020 The Oklahoman


Join us for the unveiling of our new ECMO unit for the Oklahoma City area!

Posted by EMSA OKLAHOMA on Monday, February 17, 2020


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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