Recently, a 49-year-old Belagavi resident admitted for pneumonia (lung infection) infected with H1N1 virus went into respiratory and multiple organ failures despite all the intensive support in the Critical medical care Unit. To save his life, he was put on mechanical circulatory support (Veno Venous ECMO) for 30 days at KLES Dr Prabhakar Kore Hospital, Belagavi by the team of doctors in the Cardiothoracic Surgical & Cardiac Anaesthesiology Department.
Venovenous ECMO (Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) involves oxygenating the blood by an artificial lung and returning it to the patient, giving time to the lungs to recover from widespread pneumonia resulting from the H1N1 infection. During the one month, the patient required intensive monitoring and expert care provided by the team of Cardiothoracic Surgeons lead by Dr Richard Saldhana, Dr Mohan, Gan, Pulmonologists Dr Gautham Suresh, Cardiac Anesthesiologists, Perfusionists, Physiotherapists and Intensive Care Nurses. After 40 days of intensive care, the patient made a full recovery and discharged with normal lung function. ECMO intervention facility provides respiratory and circulatory support, available now at the KLES Hospital. H1N1 flu is also known as swine flu. Several years ago, when a new virus of H1N1 emerged that spread among people who had not been near pigs. In 2009, H1N1 was spreading fast around the world, so the World Health Organization called it a pandemic. Since then, people have continued to get sick from swine flu; it is still essential to protect from getting it. Like seasonal flu, it can cause more severe health problems for some people.
What is ECMO?
Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) is a form of mechanical circulation support for the heart and lungs when they are failing and give them rest to recover. It involves a machine that will take over the work of the heart and lungs. It is used only when a patient’s condition continues to deteriorate despite mechanical ventilation and other supportive medications.
When should ECMO be considered?
It should be considered in patients with life-threatening respiratory or cardiac failure that does not respond to conventional intensive care management. Patients who benefit from ECMO are those with extensive pneumonia & acute heart failure.