OU Health Life Support Program Achieves Recognition for Excellence

Oklahoma City -- OU Health leaders recently received notification that OU Medical Center has been named a recipient of the Silver Level Pathway to Excellence in Life Support Award, presented by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization. The award recognizes

OU Medical Center’s extracorporeal life support program, established according to ELSO guidelines, and represents significant achievement toward becoming an ELSO Center of Excellence.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), also known as extracorporeal life support (ECLS), is an advanced life-saving technique, which provides prolonged cardiac and respiratory support, useful in a critical-care situations. Blood is pumped outside the body to a heart-lung machine where carbon dioxide is removed and oxygen-filled blood is transported back to the tissues in the body. In this way, the heart and lungs are allowed to rest and heal while the body continues to receive vital supplies of blood and oxygen. It is used for patients with conditions of the heart and lungs, or those waiting for or recovering from a heart transplant. In some cases, it may be used when other life support measures have not worked. It is not a treatment or a cure, but can sustain life for a matter of hours, or sometimes weeks, depending on the condition.  

Ryan Kennedy, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Surgery, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, and associate director of the trauma intensive care unit at OU Medical Center, said, “This is an amazing acknowledgement of our efforts to develop adult ECMO services at OU Medical Center.”

The commendation comes after a relatively short time, only 20 months after embarking on program eligibility and participation. Kennedy also noted the impressive score achieved. “A minimum score of 500 is required for eligibility, with an average score of 593. At 620, our score demonstrates we’re well ahead of the curve toward designation as a center of excellence.”

OU Medical Center will become eligible for Center of Excellence designation after meeting the minimum three-year requirement of good standing within ELSO. During this time, the hospital will continue to pursue requirements in various categories required for the excellence designation. 

Acknowledging the outstanding team contributions toward this achievement, Kennedy also commended the individual efforts of Cameron Butler, R.N. “Cameron’s steadfast dedication and problem-solving skills are the binding ‘glue’ of this program that promotes successful outcomes for patients. He is the only provider dedicated 24/7 to this cause. I congratulate all members involved in the success of this program and thank each of you for your continued support.”

The award presentation ceremony will be part of the 31st annual ELSO conference to be held virtually in September.



OU Health is the No. 1 ranked hospital system in Oklahoma, and its oncology program at Stephenson Cancer Center and OU Medical Center ranked in the Top 50 in the nation, in the 2019-2020 rankings released by U.S. News & World Report. OU Medical Center is the only comprehensive academic hospital in the state, offering the widest range of medical and surgical services in the region. Serving as Oklahoma’s only Level I trauma center, the hospital is a multi-state resource for every aspect of injury prevention and treatment. OU Medical Center offers the highest level of care for stroke patients, providing unmatched neurology and neurosurgery services, and is home to Oklahoma’s most experienced organ transplant team. Working alongside Stephenson Cancer Center, the hospital has the state’s only comprehensive bone marrow transplant center and more radiation therapy options than any hospital in Oklahoma. From advanced cardiac care to orthopedic services and more, OU Medical Center patients benefit from healthcare based on the latest research and advances in medicine. For more information, visit oumedicine.com/oumedicalcenter.


OU Health — along with its academic partner, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center — is the state’s only comprehensive academic health system of hospitals, clinics and centers of excellence. With 11,000 employees and more than 1,300 physicians and advanced practice providers, OU Health is home to Oklahoma’s largest physician network with a complete range of specialty care. OU Health serves Oklahoma and the region with the state’s only freestanding children’s hospital, the only National Cancer Institute-Designated Stephenson Cancer Center and Oklahoma’s flagship hospital, which serves as the state’s only Level 1 trauma center. OU Health is the No. 1 ranked hospital system in Oklahoma, and its oncology program at Stephenson Cancer Center and OU Medical Center ranked in the Top 50 in the nation, in the 2019-2020 rankings released by U.S. News & World Report. OU Health was also ranked by U.S. News & World Report as high performing in four specialties: Ophthalmology in partnership with Dean McGee Eye Institute, Colon Surgery, COPD and Congestive Heart Failure. OU Health’s mission is to lead healthcare in patient care, education and research. To learn more, visit oumedicine.com.