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ECMO at KIMSHEALTH Saves 4 Year Old Child with Acute Heart Ailment

In Health
March 23, 2021

A four-year-old girl child from Poozhikunnu near here who was brought to KIMSHEALTH Hospital with critically low blood pressure was saved using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a unique procedure.

The child complaining of constant vomiting and stomach pain was referred to KIMSHEALTH from another hospital on February 14. The Paediatric Intensive Care and Emergency Consultant, Dr Prameela, who examined the child noticed that the child’s blood pressure was dropping and her heart beat was slowing down alarmingly. Thereafter the child suffered two cardiac arrests from which she was revived, thanks to the efforts of the doctors.

In consultation with the Cardio Thoracic and Vascular Surgery Senior Consultant and department head Dr Shaji Palangadan and Cardiac Anaesthetist Dr Subash, it was decided to conduct ECMO on the child immediately.

In ECMO, blood is pumped outside of the body to a heart-lung machine that removes carbon dioxide and sends oxygen-filled blood back to tissues in the body. Blood flows from the right side of the heart to the membrane oxygenator in the heart-lung machine, and then is rewarmed and sent back to the body. This method allows the blood to “bypass” the heart and lungs, allowing these organs to rest and heal.

ECMO is used in critical care situations, when one’s heart and lungs need help so that they can heal. ECMO was performed on the child for 10 days.

Besides dialysis was done on the patient to correct the function of her kidneys and epicardial cardiac pacing was employed to correct the heartbeat. Since the child’s father was a Covid patient her blood was examined and since inflammatory markers were high, she was confirmed with post Covid Syndrome (MISC). The child also received IVIG treatment for this and after 13 days she was removed from the ventilator.

Dr Prameela expressed happiness that the child recovered quickly and was discharged from the hospital on her birthday.

It is extremely rare that someone survives following ECMO after two cardiac arrests, she said thanking providence and the team of doctors and nurses. Those involved in the treatment were doctors in the Paediatric ICU including Neetu, Nisha, Swathi, Shiju and Prijo.

Moreover, she praised the efforts of departments such as Emergency Medicine, Cardio Thoracic ICU, Paediatric ICU, Nephrology and Infectious Diseases.

KIMSHEALTH is the only hospital in the state to have successfully done over 60 ECMOs. Internationally the success of ECMO is 70 per cent. At KIMSHEALTH this rate is 70 per cent for adults and 77 per cent for children. Among the survivors so far are a snake-bitten child, a person who tried suicide, a nearly-drowned person and a lady with complication arising out of abortion.