Cutting-edge ECMO technology saves child’s life
Chennai: A 11-year-old girl who suffered from life threatening pneumonia progressing to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) became the first pediatric patient in South India to have successfully recovered by the use of artificial heart-lung by-pass machine known as ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation).
The child was transferred to Apollo Children’s Hospital a few weeks earlier, due to progressive pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Her condition quickly worsened as there was a rapid loss in the functioning of her lung leading to drastic drop of oxygen levels and her liver showed signs of decreased function. Hence as a final option, the child was put on ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation).
Though ECMO has been used in adult cases in the past, for the first time in South India, the technology has saved a pediatric patient, who was suffering from a life threatening pneumonia to give her a chance to survive and quicker recovery.
According to Dr. Paul Ramesh, Consultant Cardiothoracic surgeon and ECMO coordinator, Apollo Hospitals, “As the ventilators were of no support to the child, we had to put her on to the ECMO where her affected lung was put to complete rest and was given time to heal, managing the ECMO was the most challenging task as it has to be monitored 24×7. It required an organized effort of team experts including cardiac surgeons, pulmonologists, anesthetists, critical care specialists, physiotherapists and nursing staff”.
He also added, “ECMO is a type of heart-lung pump that provides support when a child’s heart or lungs fail to work properly or need to rest. By taking over the work of the heart and lungs, the machine gives a child’s heart or lungs a chance to recover. To initiate ECMO, catheters are placed in large blood vessels to provide access to the patient’s blood stream. Anticoagulant drugs are given to prevent blood clotting. The ECMO machine continuously removes blood from the patient and performs gas exchange, much like artificial lungs, before returning the blood to the patient”.
The child was taken off the ECMO machine after 6 days of treatment and was discharged in a fully fit condition a few days ago.