Hyderabad: KIMS Cuddles in Gachibowli in Hyderabad, successfully operated on an 11-month-old baby diagnosed with severe H1N1 pneumonia. The operation was primarily successful due to ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) support for such a young patient; ECMO is a life-saving procedure that temporarily takes over the function of the heart and lungs when they are unable to operate effectively. In this instance, it played a pivotal role in the recovery of the young patient.
The 11-month-old baby in question initially received treatment for her condition in a private hospital, where she was placed on a ventilator for respiratory support. However, due to her deteriorating condition and the inability to maintain adequate oxygen levels with conventional methods, she was transferred to KIMS Cuddles for ECMO support.
ECMO, as a medical intervention, essentially functions as a life support system. It serves as a bridge when the heart or lungs are critically compromised, allowing them to rest and recover. In this case, this specialised procedure proved to be a crucial turning point in her battle against severe pneumonia.
The medical team at KIMS Cuddles, led by Dr Suman Lingabathina, a lead consultant pediatric intensivist, and Dr Alekhya, a consultant pediatric intensivist, worked tirelessly to provide the necessary care for the baby. With ECMO support, the baby’s condition gradually stabilised, paving the way for a remarkable recovery. After 22 days of ECMO treatment, she spent an additional 10 days in intensive care before being discharged in good health.
As per the doctor at KIMS Cuddles, ECMO functions by removing carbon dioxide from the blood and infusing oxygen, temporarily relieving the burden on the heart and lungs. This procedure has gained prominence during the H1N1 and COVID-19 pandemics, particularly for patients with severe respiratory distress.
While ECMO support for pediatric patients has been well-established in Western countries for years, it is not as widely utilised in India. Providing ECMO support for children requires a dedicated team of pediatric intensive care specialists, proficient nursing staff, ECMO perfusionists, and advanced laboratory equipment. KIMS Hospital Gachibowli, a pioneer in ECMO services since 2012, has been at the forefront of such life-saving interventions in the Telugu states.