Date of Award

Spring 4-14-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Respiratory Therapy

First Advisor

Lynda Goodfellow

Second Advisor

Rachel Culbreth

Third Advisor

Shi Huh Samuel Shan


Background: Despite the growing research about the effectiveness of using Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in different countries, there is a lack of research that addresses Respiratory therapists (RTs') practice, perception, and prevalence regarding the use of ECMO specifically in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate RTs' perceptions, prevalence, and attitudes toward working with ECMO patients in Saudi Arabia to address the need for designing a target intervention to improve the awareness of understanding ECMO, generate advanced practitioners, enhance the healthcare quality, and decrease mortality.

Purpose: The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the perception, prevalence, and attitudes toward the application of ECMO among respiratory therapists in Saudi Arabia.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was designed with 28 survey-based questions divided into four sections: demographic data, general questions about using ECMO, general questions about the knowledge of using ECMO, and general questions about the attitudes toward using ECMO among RTs in SA. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and the Chi-square tests. A convenience sample of Respiratory Therapists working in Saudi Arabia was collected online through social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp).

Results: A total of 49 RTs responded. More than half of the respondents were male 29 (60.4%), and 19 (39.6%) were female. The majority of respondents were working in urban regions (76.6%), 12.8% (n=6) of respondents were in suburban areas, and only 10.6% (n=5) were in rural areas. Approximately half of the respondents revealed they were uncomfortable with their knowledge while working with patients on ECMO (45.8%). Also, sixteen (34%) of respondents were uncomfortable with their knowledge when decisions are made in their unit relating to the initiation and withdrawal of the ECMO circuit. In comparison, they were knowledgeable in managing the mechanical ventilation of patients receiving ECMO (37.5%). The findings showed that most respiratory therapists working in intensive care units (ICU), most likely the cardiovascular ICU that provides ECMO (52.1%). However, most of them learned about ECMO from their college or university studies. Still, most hospitals did not offer ECMO training for RTs in SA (41.4%). Also, significant differences were received in RTs' attitudes toward ECMO depending on their working area (urban, suburban or rural).

Conclusion: The respiratory therapists showed a limited perception regards working with ECMO patients. However, the findings of this study revealed the experience positively impacts the perception of working with ECMO patients. This study found that education programs and country regions affect the practicing and understanding the patients in ECMO. Future studies should include larger sample size and compare respiratory therapists to other ICU professionals in managing ECMO patients.


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