There are several types of ECMO available to support patients:
The most common types are VA and VV ECMO
Venoarterial (VA) ECMO supports the patient's heart and lungs by circulating most of a patient's blood through the ECMO machine instead of relying on the patient's heart. This type of ECMO takes blood out of a large vein in the neck or groin and returns it into a large artery in the groin, allowing oxygen-rich blood to circulate through the body even if the heart is too weak to pump it. VA ECMO allows the heart and lungs to rest and recover.
Venovenous (VV) ECMO supports only the patient's lungs. The patient's heart must still function well enough to meet the body's needs. This type of ECMO usually takes blood out of a large vein in groin and returns it into another vein in the neck. Blood from the ECMO system returns to the body before the heart, and the patient's own heart pumps the blood throughout the body. Patients are also on a ventilator. VV ECMO allows the lungs to rest and recover.