The tubes that are used to transport blood from your body to the artificial lung are inserted while you are asleep under general anesthesia. Most often, the tubes are inserted in the upper part of your chest, but they may also be inserted on your thigh near your groin.
After you are hooked up to the artificial lung, you will be closely monitored in the intensive care unit. Some patients who receive ECMO are able to perform rehabilitation exercises and walk short distances. Other patients must stay in bed.
Since it is only used for patients who are seriously ill and in need of a transplant, the amount of time you will remain on ECMO depends on when donor organs become available.