Center of Excellence Award for Advanced Life Support Care

Updated: 8/7/2013

Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo has the only ECMO program in Western New York for patients with serious heart and lung dysfunction



Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo has been recognized by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) as a Center of Excellence for medical advancement with Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), a therapy that provides support to patients with serious heart and lung dysfunction.

The ELSO award signifies a commitment to exceptional patient care. To the healthcare community, it also demonstrates an assurance of high quality standards, specialized equipment and supplies, defined patient protocols, and advanced education of all staff members.

Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo has the only ECMO program in Western New York fully recognized as a Center of Excellence by ELSO, an organization of healthcare professionals and scientists dedicated to the development and evaluation of novel therapies for support of failing organ systems. ELSO’s goal is to recognize and honor programs worldwide that reach the highest level of performance, innovation, satisfaction and quality with its Center of Excellence Award.

This is the third time that Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo has received the Center of Excellence distinction, having first received it in 2009.

The ELSO Award Committee noted an example that is beyond expectations of the ELSO guidelines as noteworthy. This example noted by ELSO is of the excellent use of the ELSO Registry data. The letter from ELSO about this Center of Excellence award stated, “You are to be congratulated on the work your center has done increasing the use of VV mode of ECMO therapy!”

The ECMO team consists of critical care physicians, pediatric surgeons, ECMO specialist nurses and respiratory therapists, and is supported by a diverse group of pediatric health care professionals. The team is led by Dr. Omar Al-Ibrahim, medical director of the ECMO & Apheresis Programs, Cathy Ducato, RN, ECMO coordinator, and Judy Murcko, RN, manager, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

The ECMO program supports the Regional Perinatal Center at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and has saved critical newborn infants born in Western New York with life-threatening respiratory failure.

The PICU at Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo is a state-of-the-art, 20-bed multidisciplinary medical/surgical unit and the only unit of its kind in the surrounding eight counties delivering specialized pediatric care for the most critically sick and injured infants and children in Western New York, including those with extremely severe heart and lung dysfunction.