Covid patients’ lives being saved by ECMO

A shocking therapy that’s “hard to come to terms with” and includes an “unbelievable” machine is saving Covid sufferers’ lives.

A affected person and his physician have lifted the lid on a rare technique for treating critical instances of Covid that includes individuals being put right into a coma for so long as 130 days.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a life help machine usually used for individuals struggling extreme and life-threatening diseases.

ECMO replaces the perform of the center and lungs to permit these organs to relaxation and heal.

Connected to a affected person by tubes, it acts as a synthetic lung with blood being pumped out of the physique into the machine the place carbon dioxide is eliminated earlier than the blood is distributed again.

Patients utilizing ECMO for respiratory help are usually in a coma for 10-20 days, however that every one modified when Victorian specialists used it as a method to deal with extreme Covid instances.

Sixty-four sufferers with Covid have been on the machine in the course of the virus’ two waves all through the state.

They spent a mean of 41 days on help, with about 83 per cent surviving.

The Alfred Hospital’s head of ECMO, Associate Professor Vincent Pellegrino, defined to 3AW on Friday that the rise within the time spent in a coma was because of the “game-changing” and “onerous nature” of Covid.

“Their lungs were in such a state (that) in order to get enough gas exchange to keep them alive we were using completely unsafe pressures to do that in the lungs,” he stated.

Stiven Taleski, 33, was a kind of sufferers. He spent 84 days in a coma earlier than waking up in January.

When he awoke, he was in a “daze” and didn’t know the place he was or what was occurring.

“I thought it was probably about five days, but I was three or four months off and I was in a different year,” he stated.

“It was very hard to come to terms with at the start.”

Since waking up Mr Taleski is feeling higher and extra lively daily.

He hopes to return to work in some unspecified time in the future, although his lung capability is “still quite low”.

“I’m kind of glad I was pretty much asleep through the entire thing, it sounds quite scary,” Mr Taleski stated.

“It’s saved my life – unbelievable piece of machinery.”

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