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Waking up after ECMO

Please can anyone help with advice. A member of my family has come off ECMO following treatment for Sepsis. It seems to be taking a long time to wake up but I understand patients are heavily sedated and paralysed and treated with opiates for pain relief. His kidneys are not working so I understand that the drugs will take longer to go out of his system. He has some small bleeds in the brain and the impact will not be known until he wakes up. Please can anyone advise me. Thank you.

4 Replies

All I can say from experience is to Be patient and try to avoid stimulus. Avoiding touching or talking from the loved ones seemed to help my husband come off after the first attempt failed. Erratic behavior after is also to be expected just be patient. Mood swings and depression will also pass.


Stay strong sending lots of love


Hi Haley

Did your husband need a tracheostomy and if so how did he cope with that. Many thanks for your messages which really help.


Dear Haley

Thank you for replying. I feel so powerless so it’s comforting to hear from someone else who has experience of this . The withdrawal from ECMO was very smooth or seemed so. His kidneys are not working properly yet so it’s taking a long time for the strong sedatives and opiate pain medication to be removed from his system so he is slow to wake up. Thank you so much.


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