RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — South Texas Health System (STHS) Heart has announced the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Program coming in 2023.

According to STHS, ECMO replaces the function of the heart and lungs in patients with severe heart and/or lung failure.

The blood is pumped outside of the body to a heart-lung machine that removes carbon dioxide and sends oxygen-filled blood back to tissues in the body.

STHS Heart is the first hospital in the Rio Grande Valley with ECMO capabilities, according to its news release.

“This ECMO treatment at STHS Heart will offer some of our most critically ill patients suffering from acute or chronic cardiac and respiratory failure an additional treatment option without needing to leave the Valley. While receiving ECMO life support, patients are monitored by our multidisciplinary team at all times,” says Brenda Ivory, Chief Executive Officer, South Texas Health System Heart.

STHS Heart has received its ECMO machine and will begin offering support for patients with severe heart and lung conditions in early 2023, said the news release.