Since 2020, the COVID pandemic has been wreaking havoc on the world. Many are contracting the infection, some struggle through it, while some don’t survive it. But here is a story of triumphant survival.
MGM Healthcare has successfully treated a 32-year-old male COVID-infected patient with the aid of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) — a procedure that oxygenates a patient’s blood outside the body. But why is this special? Because in an extremely rare occurrence, the patient was on ECMO support for 72 days, the longest a COVID-19 patient has spent on ECMO in the country.
The patient, Mr Rajesh (name changed) from Chennai, became critically ill after contracting COVID-19 on 18th May and was treated at another local hospital when the country was reeling under the second wave of the deadly pandemic. Due to COVID, the patient’s lungs suffered severe damage and he suffered from many other health issues, includes ENT bleeding, disseminated intravascular coagulation and episodes of seizure, after contracting the Novel Coronavirus. The patient even suffered from a cardiac arrest during this time.
Rajesh was put on ECMO during the first week of June and underwent a tracheostomy in the second week of June to stabilise his health condition. When no improvement was seen in his health, he was referred to MGM Healthcare and was admitted on July 13th, 2021. He was brought to us with 100% involvement of the lungs and a decision was taken to continue ECMO support till his condition stabilised.
The team then worked on treating his health issues one by one. Dr KR Balakrishnan, Chairman -Cardiac Sciences & Director, Institute of Heart and Lung Transplant & Mechanical Circulatory Support, Dr Suresh Rao KG, Co-Director, and their team successfully treated all his health issues proactively. “We continued to monitor him on ECMO and treated him with antibiotics as he experienced a severe bout of bloodstream infection,” said Dr Suresh. Finally, after 72 long days, the ECMO support was weaned off. The patient has responded positively to the treatment and his vitals are now currently stable. We salute his resolve as he and his family didn’t lose hope through this ordeal. MGM Healthcare operates one of the most comprehensive ECMO programmes in the country and has treated more than 200 patients on ECMO during the COVID pandemic and have also performed lung transplants. Pandemic or not, we always strive to keep doing more, better.