First time COVID sequela patient airlifted from Nepal to India on ECMO life support

It is the first case of an international transfer of a COVID pneumonia patient on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine  

A 37-year-old critically ill Covid pneumonia patient on ECMO machine from transferred from Nepal to Delhi hospital. The patient was plummeting rapidly despite 100% ventilator support due to COVID pneumonia with extensive Lung involvement (ARDS). He was put on a ventilator support in Nepal but continued to be sick.

The patient was kept on ECMO or Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation is a life support machine replacing heart and/or lung functions. The machine pumps blood from the patient’s body to an artificial lung (oxygenator) that adds oxygen to it and removes carbon dioxide. Elaborating on the condition of the patient, Dr. Kewal Krishan, Director, Heart Transplant & Ventricular Assist Devices, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Max Hospital, said, “The patient from Uttarakhand was in Katmandu, Nepal for a business trip. He had been complaining of fever for over a month and was initially treated at home. After 3-4 days, however, he developed difficulty in breathing and was diagnosed with COVID-19. He was admitted in a hospital in Kathmandu, but his oxygen saturation levels kept dropping despite mechanical ventilation. That’s when we were contacted by the patient’s family and flew down to Kathmandu and put him on VV ECMO support.” 

 “Patient had extensive pneumonia in both the lungs despite being on ventilator with 100% support, that’s when we decided to put him on ECMO. ECMO is a procedure that has been well established in the western world but still in a nascent stage in our country. We are privileged that this facility is available with us. With this, we can save the lives of people who are on ventilator and not improving. One of its major advantages is that it acts as an artificial lung outside the body and protects the patient from ventilator related complications.”  Said Dr. Vivek Nangia, Principal Director & Chief of Pulmonology (Cluster 1), Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket 

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