COVID-free, hale and hearty after 44 days on ECMO

A seriously ill COVID patient from the district has been treated and brought back to life by employing Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)—a procedure that oxygenates a patient’s blood outside the body—for 44 days at the KIMS HEALTH hospital here, a press release issued by the hospital has said.

The 38-year-old engineer, who was on home quarantine after turning COVID-19 positive, was advised through tele consultation to come to the hospital after his oxygen saturation dropped suddenly. The initial treatment was supervised by the hospital COVID team. The patient was given oxygen support and moved to the multidisciplinary ICU. He was then put on ventilator, as his condition worsened after he developed pneumonia and his lung function dropped.

The ECMO procedure was started under the supervision of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery Senior Consultant and Department Head Shaji Palangandan.

ECMO was employed for providing prolonged cardiac and respiratory support to persons whose heart and lungs were unable to provide an adequate amount of oxygen exchange or perfusion to sustain life, said Dr. Palangadan. However, through the continuous use of the machine, its oxygenator would lose efficacy after 21 days and would have to be replaced.

“The challenge was to replace the oxygenator in a matter of 24 seconds, which was done successfully. There is also the chance of blood clotting as a result of the continuous flow of blood into the ECMO machine from the patient,” Dr. Palangandan said. Because of the continuous blood flow through the ECMO machine, the patient developed infections, which were successfully treated. Thereafter, the patient’s health improved and he was weaned away from the ECMO machine and the ventilator. He left the hospital hale and hearty after 44 days on the ECMO machine. The money for the treatment had been raised through insurance and other funding sources.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 10:53:22 AM |

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