Chennai man who had respiratory failure after COVID-19, spends two weeks on ECMO, recovers

 thehindu.com  09/17/2020 10:30:04 

A 58-year-old man who was admitted to Gleneagles Global Hospital with respiratory failure caused by COVID-19, has finally made a turnaround. He will be returning home after spending 45 days in the hospital, nearly 2/3rds of which were spent in the intensive care unit and on ECMO support.

The man, hailing from North Chennai, had contracted the infection in July and was hospitalised for 14 days. He was discharged from the hospital after he tested negative for the infection.

However, two weeks after he returned home, he began developing breathing difficulties. The difficulties became more severe with every passing day. On the recommendation of friends and family, the man was taken to Gleneagles Global Hospital where he was admitted on July 30.

The patient, admitted for respiratory failure, was immediately provided with mechanical ventilator support. But soon doctors realised it was not enough.

Critical care specialist V.P. Rajavel said the patient slipped into respiratory failure. We initiated him on a mechanical ventilator. Our team members tried ECMO as it had been successfully tried in a few places in North India and some Western countries. He spent over two weeks on ECMO and had lots of ups and downs, he said.

R. Sivasailam, consultant, critical care, said when the patient was on ECMO, We saw all kinds of complications, over a period of 45 days.

The patient recalled, When I came, I was in critical condition. Now I can speak a little. His son said some doctors they had consulted before coming to Gleneagles had said his fathers condition was hopeless. At the hospital, Slowly, we saw some improvement. After 20 days they were able to wean him off the ECMO. After that, Dad started improving, he added.

The doctors said the patient had been put on ECMO as an option to prevent him from progressing to lung failure and requiring a lung transplant.

According to Subramanian Swaminathan, director of infectious diseases, the hospital had seen many patients with lung infections, who, after medical management, had improved. Their lungs had healed well and they did not require a lung transplant.

The patient will be discharged in another week, the hospital authorities said.

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