In the Spring of 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic was at its first peak, killing 1000 people a day. SARS-COV-2 was causing acute respiratory failure. In severe cases ECMO was initiated by a select group of centres specialising in veno-veno ECMO.
At Royal Papworth Hospital, elective surgery was suspended. Perfusionists were assimilated into the nurse ECMO specialist team and trained to provide 24/7 airway management and IV sedation in addition to care of the ECMO circuits and ECMO mobile retrievals for up to 8 weeks.