Mortality of patients awaiting lung transplant remains a significant problem as the number of patients on the waiting list far surpasses the number of donor organs available. Interest in the use of “awake” extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) as a bridge to lung transplant has emerged because this strategy offers several benefits over mechanical ventilation. This article provides a review of relevant literature and discusses indications and complications of awake ECMO therapy, cannulation strategies, and nursing considerations for this patient population.

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