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Everything you need to know about extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for lung patients or Covid

The Covid-19 patients had to be placed on ventilation support, which was insufficient for them because the functioning of their lungs was compromised. During the coronavirus pandemic, many patients were placed on Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) as the majority of them had lung issues. These individuals had ECMO support, in which the blood is pumped outside the body with the assistance of a heart-lung system that is integrated into an ECMO machine, removing carbon dioxide from the body and resupplying oxygenated blood to the tissues in the body.
how ECMO operates?
Dr. Aklesh Tandekar, the head critical care consultant at Wockhardt Hospitals on Mira Road, revealed in an interview with HT Lifestyle that the blood is taken from the right side of the heart to the membrane and oxygenated in the ECMO machine, also known as a heart-lung machine. The filter in this device, known as an oxygen membrane or oxygenator, cleans the blood and distributes it throughout the body. Here, the heart and lungs may be bypassed so that they can rest, and these devices aid in the organs' speedy recovery.
In cases when the heart and lungs are not functioning properly, such as in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and cardiac conditions, ECMO is often utilised in intensive care units, also known as critical care units. According to Dr. Aklesh Tandekar, “These devices are a blessing to such people. Patients who are recovering from heart failure or awaiting a heart transplant or even a lung transplant may also utilise it. An interim step between transplantation and ECMO devices. The ECMO devices will keep resting the heart and lungs until these patients get stable organs from the donor. In addition, patients with additional illnesses like heart attacks, severe myocardial infarctions, hypothermia, pulmonary embolism, trauma, sepsis, defects in the diaphragm (congenital diaphragmatic hernia), cardiogenic shock, and those with bacterial and viral infections can benefit from these machines. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle (myocardium), where the heart pumping is reduced.
How can I get ready for ECMO?
According to Dr. Aklesh Tandekar, the physician will determine if you need ECMO or not, place cannulas in the body's measuring vessels according for how long you will require ECMO assistance, and then remove them after the patient has recovered. While some patients may only need ECMO services for 3–4 days, others may need them for weeks or even months before they recover, these services allow medical professionals to provide the best care possible for the patients while assisting the organs in healing.

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