Risk of COVID‐19 infection among mobile extracorporeal membrane oxygenation team

Rabee Tawel, Lubna Altawil, Sunil Hassan Koya, Hani Jaouni, Guillaume Alinier, Abdulqadir J. Nashwan, Ahmed Labib

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BACKGROUND AND AIM: The transport of coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19) patients on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a challenging situation, especially for healthcare workers (HCWs), due to the risk of cross-infection. Hence, certain precautions are needed for their safety. The study aims to evaluate the risk of COVID-19 transmission to HCWs who transport COVID-19 patients on ECMO device.

METHODS: A retrospective review of adult patients with COVID-19 infection supported with ECMO and transported by ground route to the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) at Hamad General Hospital (HGH) and a survey of HCWs involved in those cases.

RESULTS: A total of 63 HCWs of the mobile ECMO team were exposed to COVID-19-positive patients on 199 occasions. HCWs exposure time was nearly 110 h, and the total transport distance was 1018 km. During the study period, only two of the mobile ECMO HCWs tested positive for COVID-19. There was zero incidence of transfer-associated injuries or accidents to HCWs.

CONCLUSIONS: The risk of COVID-19 cross-infection to the mobile ECMO team seems to be very low, provided that strict infection prevention and control measures are applied.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere981
Pages (from-to)e981
Number of pages7
JournalHealth Science Reports
Issue number1
Early online date8 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2023


  • coronavirus disease‐2019
  • extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • healthcare workers
  • mobile ECMO
  • transmission
  • transport
  • coronavirus disease-2019


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