12-year-old recovers after being on ECMO support for 65 days

Hyderabad: A 12-year-old boy, who was on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) support for 65 days after suffering multi-organ infection due to Covid-19, has recovered fully at a hospital here.

According to doctors, this is the only reported case in the country of a child who has sustained on this mode of life support for over two months and has fully recovered from his infection.

Doctors at Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) Hospital announced on Friday that the boy, who was airlifted from UP to Hyderabad, has recovered well enough for ECMO discontinuation.

The patient had been on life support utilising the efficiencies of a veno-venous ECMO. Doctors at KIMS said they closely monitored other organ functions, enhanced nutrition, physical rehabilitation, and advanced lung recovery manoeuvres while on the ECMO.

“When the patient came to us, his lungs were fully affected, stiff and he was unable to supply oxygen to his body. With ECMO support, his lung was rested and gradually healed itself and regained enough function to be able to support him,” said Dr Vijil, Chief of Transplant Pulmonology, KIMS Heart and Lung Institute.

The boy was airlifted from Midland Healthcare and Research centre, Lucknow. A medical team from KIMS flew on a chartered aircraft to evacuate this child to their base in Hyderabad.

“It is very heartening to know that the child has recovered fully and is being discharged from the hospital. It was a very satisfying effort of the combined medical team at Midland Hospital Lucknow and KIMS Hospital Hyderabad to achieve a successful outcome,” said Dr B P Singh, Senior Pulmonologist and Primary Physician Midland Healthcare and Research Centre.

“This boy had critical illness syndrome on arrival. This also included a myopathy caused by steroids and immunomodulating therapy for severe Covid. It required a herculean effort for over 2 months till he recovered well enough for ECMO discontinuation. It is really a satisfying moment for us,” Dr Prabhat Dutta, Chief Intensivist, KIMS Heart and Lung Transplant Institute, said. He also thanked the nursing and physiotherapy team for their efforts.

Critical Covid illness leads to multiple comorbidities, muscle weakness caused by medications used to treat the primary condition, repeated infections in the bloodstream, and secondary infections in their airways over and above dense non-resolving pneumonia.

“Dr Sandeep Attawar and the transplant team at KIMS Hospitals are first among equals. The high-quality outcomes that they aspire to and achieve, time and time again, and their accomplishments demonstrate their commitment and the facilities at KIMS,” said Dr Abhinay Bollineni, Chief Executive Officer, KIMS hospitals.

A veteran in the field of transplant surgeries with experience of more than 25 years, Dr Attawar has performed over 12,000 heart surgeries and has over 350 transplant surgeries for lungs, heart, and artificial heart.

In treating this patient, he was supported by a team of experts and support staff members, who monitored the child round the clock for more than two months.