What is ECMO And How It Is Used For healing Of Lungs And Heart?

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has come a long way in the recent years and has become a really developed procedure to help patients with severe life threatening illness which stops their heart or lungs from working properly. Initially, this therapy was used for newborn babies or infants to help regulate their internal functioning but nowadays ECMO is used to treat adults as well with advancements and developments. According to Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO), which keeps running tab on ECMO, ever since 1990, ECMO has been used to help 60,000 + people throughout the world.

The ECMO machine replaces the function of the heart and lungs. To be specific, ECMO infuses oxygen into the blood and removes carbon dioxide. It can also provide hemodynamic (blood pressure) support. It is a means of partial cardiopulmonary bypass and is used outside the operating room.

ECMO is used to take off stress from lugs and the heart for several days which theoretically promotes healing. ECMO is used to help those whose:

  • Lungs cannot provide enough oxygen to the body even when extra oxygen is given.
  • Lungs cannot get rid of carbon dioxide even with the help from a mechanical ventilator.
  • Heart cannot pump enough blood to the body.

It may also be used to support people with heart or lung disease that can be cured while they wait for an organ transplant (e.g. new heart and/or lungs).

Doctor Kewal Krishan, Director, Heart Transplant & Left Ventricular Assist Devices, Senior Consultant Cardiac Surgeon at MAX Super Specialty Hospital, Saket has done four years of  advanced clinical fellowship at world’s top hospitals including MAYO Clinic, Rochester, USA and MOUNT SINAI medical centre, New York, USA where he gained expertise in advanced therapies. Doctor Kewal is one of handful surgeons in India who are formally trained in all aspects of. He is trained intensively in the entire spectrum of ventricular assist devices. He is a trained and eminent doctor who knows how to take care of his patients well.

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