A 10-year-old girl from Vavara Ambalam, in Thiruvananthapuram, with a rapidly deteriorating condition due to severe ARDS and pneumonia, was brought back to life through ECMO at the government-run SAT Hospital here. This was the first time in the state that ECMO was successfully administered in the pediatric department of a government hospital.
In Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ECMO, the blood lacking in oxygen is taken out from the patient's body, oxygenated using a series of devices, and then pumped back into the body of the patient. The treatment costs about Rs 15 lakh in private hospitals. It was made available for free in SAT through a government scheme.
The child was admitted on October 13 with fever and shortness of breath. To help with the breathing process, the patient was first put on a ventilator before further treatment began. But despite the ventilator support, the child's lungs could only deliver 65% of oxygen to the brain and other organs. Within hours, the functions of the child's vital organs began to fail.
The ECMO treatment started on October 14th at 11:30 pm. The function of the lungs gradually improved and after 10 days the ECMO procedure was discontinued. The ventilator support continued till the 28th day. The patient's condition gradually improved and soon the child was able to breathe without external aid. The child is currently on the way to making a full making recovery and will be discharged soon.