Human factors in ECLS – A keystone for safety and quality – A narrative review for ECLS providers

Justyna Swol, Daniel Brodie, Anne Willers, Bishoy Zakhary, Joseph Belezzo, Zachary Shinar, Scott D. Weingart, Jonathan W. Haft, Roberto Lorusso, Giles J. Peek

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Although the technology used for extracorporeal life support (ECLS) has improved greatly in recent years, the application of these devices to the patient is quite complex and requires extensive training of team members both individually and together. Human factors is an area that addresses the activities, contexts, environments, and tools which interact with human behavior in determining overall system performance. Hypothesis: Analyses of the cognitive behavior of ECLS teams and individual members of these teams with respect to the occurrence of human errors may identify additional opportunities to enhance safety in delivery of ECLS. Results: The aim of this article is to support health-care practitioners who perform ECLS, or who are starting an ECLS program, by establishing standards for the safe and efficient use of ECLS with a focus on human factor issues. Other key concepts include the importance of ECLS team leadership and management, as well as controlling the environment and the system to optimize patient care. Conclusion: Expertise from other industries is extrapolated to improve patient safety through the application of simulation training to reduce error propagation and improve outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-49
Number of pages10
JournalArtificial Organs
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • ECLS
  • ECMO
  • behavioral skills
  • extracorporeal life support
  • extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • human factors
  • simulation
  • training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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