Hyderabad: Given the very low success rates of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (EMO) treatment for severe Covid – ARDS patients, Yashoda Hospitals doctors, led by Dr. Hari Kishan Gonuguntla, senior pulmonologist, achieved a new milestone in Telangana by successfully treating a 58-year-old woman patient, who was suffering from severe Covid -19 disease.

ECMO is as effective as an artificial lung or heart. This technology is used when all other forms of heart and lung supports have failed for critically ill patients. In this therapy, blood is drawn from the body and artificially oxygenated outside the body with machines removing the carbon dioxide from RBCs.

“The patient, Bharati, a native of Korutla in Jagtial district is obese and she was admitted to the ICU in Yashoda Hospital on September 16, 2020. She has co-morbidities like diabetes, which complicate Covid-19. As the patient was not maintaining oxygen levels above 70% even with high oxygen support, doctors decided to escalate to mechanical ventilator on September 17.

Even on ventilator support, her oxygen levels were fluctuating between
80-90% with an Fi02 of 100%. At this juncture, the team of doctors discussed in detail with the family members and convinced them to initiate ECMO treatment which was started on September 19.

Immediately after initiating ECMO, the patient’s oxygenation improved. Also, she had a sudden collapse of her left lung due to obstruction by a mucus plug and bacterial infection. Then the doctors decided to do a urgent bronchoscopy (a high risk procedure during Covid-19) and could clear off the mucus and re-open the lungs.

Following this, there has been a dramatic improvement in the condition of the patient and she was removed from ECMO on September 28, 2020. She was discharged on October 5 on tracheotomy to a rehabilitation centre, where she is undergoing rigorous physical training and later, she will be shifted home.” said Dr. G. Hari Kishan, senior pulmonologist, Yashoda Hospitals, Secunderabad.

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