‘Scary’ way of treating Covid patients with ‘unbelievable’ machine

A affected person and his physician have lifted the lid on a rare methodology for treating critical circumstances 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 typically used for individuals struggling extreme and life-threatening sicknesses.

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

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

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

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

They spent a median 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 wakened, he was in a “daze” and didn’t know the place he was or what was taking place.

covid life saved
Camera IconStiven Taleski’s life was saved by ECMO. Credit: Supplied, 3AW

“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 energetic each day.

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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