ECMO: A life saver for seriously ill COVID-19 patients

ECMO: A life saver for seriously ill COVID-19 patients
Expert clinicians at Fortis Vadapalani successfully manage patient with poor lung function
on ECMO for over 200 days
Chennai, 3 May 2021: A 34-year-old patient infected with COVID-19 and poor lung function has received a new lease of life with ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) at Fortis Hospital, Vadapalani. ECMO can prove to be an effective treatment solution in these challenging times for patients with weak lung function and this has been demonstrated by Dr Govini Balasubramani, Head, CTVS, Heart and Lung Transplant, Fortis Vadapalani and his medical team of cardiothoracic surgeons, pulmonologists and intensive care specialists.
The patient, Mr. Hameem (name withheld for privacy), a tailor by profession, was diagnosed with COVID- 19 in 2019. Although he successfully fought the infection, he suffered a bout of pneumonia in September 2020. His lungs were compromised and required ventilator support for survival. Seeing no improvement in his condition and further worsening symptoms after a few days, he was referred to Dr. Govini Balasubramani and his team who examined the case details and considered him for lung transplant. He was also immediately placed on ECMO support. The team monitored the patient for more than 6 months and gradually, there was an improvement in his condition. He was able to walk and also participate in physiotherapy sessions under close monitoring of Dr. Govini and his team. Today, Mr. Hameem has successfully survived on ECMO support for over 200 days.
Speaking about the patient’s treatment, Dr Govini Balasubramani, Head, CTVS, Heart and Lung Transplant, Fortis Vadapalani said, “For any patient under ECMO, the length of hospital stay and the average survival rate in hospital is 45 days, as observed in different cases in the past. When a patient is not maintaining an oxygen level of 50% even with 100% oxygen support, he/she is brought under mechanical ventilator and then further escalated to ECMO therapy as required. Although ECMO is beneficial, it is used as a last resort when the organs fail to respond in the case of critically ill patients.  Available data with us suggests that in an appropriately selected patient, we can save life with this therapy. Even in these testing times due to the pandemic, clinicians at Fortis Vadapalani are continuing to stand with patients and using any means possible to save lives.

Dr. Sanjay Pandey, Zonal Director, Fortis Hospitals, Chennai said, “Our endeavor is to always ensure a patient centric approach and provide the best clinical care possible to critical patients. In this case, leadership and multi-disciplinary teamwork enabled correct diagnosis and treatment approach to save a life. We are happy at the successful outcome of this case and will continue to put in diligent efforts, as per global clinical protocols, for each and every patient who approaches us, for the best possible results.”
About Dr. Govini Balasubramani:
Dr. Govini Balasubramani is a renowned name in the field of Heart & Lung Transplant Surgery and is a pioneer in Live Lung Transplant. He has over 22 years of experience and heads the Transplant Programme at Fortis Hospital, Vadapalani, Chennai.

About Fortis Hospital, Vadapalani
Fortis Hospital, Vadapalani is the second facility within Chennai from the country’s fastest growing healthcare group – Fortis Healthcare and centrally located in the bustling epicenter of Arcot Road, Vadapalani. This 250 bed multi super-specialty, quaternary care hospital is geared up to cater to the city of Chennai for full spectrum of specialties including Cardiology, Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, Pulmonology, Neurology, Urology, Diabetology, Orthopedics & Spine, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, General Surgery, and other support specialties.
About Fortis Healthcare Limited:
Fortis Healthcare Limited – an IHH Healthcare Berhad Company – is a leading integrated healthcare services provider in India. It is one of the largest healthcare organizations in the country with 36 healthcare facilities (including projects under development),  HYPERLINK “tel:+444000” 4000 operational beds and over 400 diagnostics centers (including JVs). Fortis is present in India, United Arab Emirates (UAE) & Sri Lanka. The Company is listed on the BSE Ltd and National Stock Exchange (NSE) of India. It draws strength from its partnership with global major and parent company, IHH, to build upon its culture of world-class patient care and superlative clinical excellence. Fortis employs 23,000 people (including SRL) who share its vision of becoming the world’s most trusted healthcare network. Fortis offers a full spectrum of integrated healthcare services ranging from clinics to quaternary care facilities and a wide range of ancillary services