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March 22, 2018

UVA Earns International Award for Heart and Lung Care

UVA hospital and Lee Street

The Heart and Vascular Center at University of Virginia Medical Center has earned the Gold Level Excellence in Life Support Award from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization for providing lifesaving care for patients with failing hearts or lungs.

“I want to thank our outstanding heart care team and their partners throughout the University of Virginia Medical Center for their teamwork to provide this invaluable and advanced care for critically ill patients,” said Pamela M. Sutton-Wallace, chief executive officer of UVA Medical Center.

UVA received the award for its program to provide advanced life support through Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), also known as a heart-lung machine, for patients with certain serious heart or lung conditions. Injured lungs are unable to provide sufficient oxygen to the body, while injured hearts may not provide sufficient blood flow to the body. ECMO takes over these functions, allowing injured hearts and lungs to rest and recover.

“The Excellence in Life Support Award recognizes those centers that demonstrate an exceptional commitment to evidence-based processes and quality measures, staff training and continuing education, patient satisfaction and ongoing clinical care,” said the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization in a statement.

To earn the award, UVA had to demonstrate the highest level of ECMO care in several areas, including:

  • Quality improvement activities
  • Advanced training for team members
  • Staffing levels
  • Equipment
  • Incorporating treatment advances
  • Family education and participation
  • Inter-hospital transport services for ECMO patients
  • Specialty and support services for ECMO patients

“Ensuring high-quality ECMO care is available whenever patients need it requires collaboration and a commitment to constant improvement in our care,” said UVA thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon Nicholas Teman, MD. “Our team – including our colleagues in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit – is always focused on how to best serve our patients and their families.”

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