Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI), under the aegis of Director and HOD Dr Sandeep Dewan, said that almost 50 cases that required intervention of ECMO (Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) were reported in the northern region of country.
ECMO is an extracorporeal technique of providing prolonged cardiac and respiratory support to persons whose hearts and lungs are unable to provide an adequate amount of gas exchange or perfusion to sustain life.
ECMO is rapidly gaining recognition as a technique, which is used to save people when all other options have been exhausted.
There were two exceptional cases that illustrated how the timely use of ECMO saved their lives. The first patient was Vidushi, 31 year-old diabetic, who was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis.
Vidushi was a known case of Type-2 diabetes mellitus and had been suffering from high grade fever and a dry cough for over a month. She has been diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) and been on antitubercular treatment for over a month.
It was then that the patient was put on veno-venous ECMO support. On the sixth day, the patient's lung function started to improve, vasopressor (a drug or other agent which causes the constriction of blood vessels) support was gradually withdrawn and oxygen levels started improving. Vidushi was taken off the ECMO after eight days and was discharged.
The second patient was 27-year-old Yashi, who was shifted in a severe condition after contracting swine flu had suddenly gone into severe respiratory distress.
Her condition worsened and she was unable to maintain her saturations. So, the moment she was put on portable ECMO, her condition improved. After three days, she was shifted to a general ward and later discharged.
Dr Dewan said, "Cases like Anju Yadav and Vidushi are one of a kind and hadn't been reported within the medical field previously."
"This was the first time that ECMO was administered on a tuberculosis patient in India. Anju Yadav's case was challenging as the patient was pregnant had severe ARDS and required ECMO which had to be administered with ongoing CPR and chest compressions," Dr Dewan added.
These cases highlight how all efforts to save a patient failed, barring the use of ECMO. Awareness about ECMO intervention is extremely important among healthcare professionals and families. It is necessary to have an option B ready at all times.
Dr Simmardeep Gill, Zonal Director from Fortis Memorial Research Institute said, "ECMO plays an extremely critical role in the healthcare sector. It is necessary to facilitate ECMO intervention with the correct infrastructure and expertise."
ECMO is a machine which acts as a heart - lung bypass.
It can support and perform the functions of the lung and the heart, individually and together.