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She was dying of COVID-19. Her last hope was an ECMO device that would save or kill her

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Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 44 years experience.

Well written article how the last chance ECMO treatment in COVID disease saved a women's life.

LA Times

She was dying of COVID-19. Her last hope was a device that would save or kill her



...For the sickest of the COVID-19 sick, ECMO has become a final option, and from the start of the pandemic, a team of physicians and nurses at UCLA have employed the device when ventilators are no longer sufficient.

“Doctors have a choice,” said Dr. Vadim Gudzenko, an intensivist at UCLA, “either turn to ECMO as a Hail Mary or stay the course and see how it goes.” But from his experience, patients on ECMO would have died without ECMO.

Of the 39 COVID-19 patients put on ECMO at UCLA, 15 recovered and were discharged, 12 died, eight are still on the machine and four remain in the hospital, Gudzenko said. Infection, organ failure, stroke and profuse bleeding are the causes of mortality....




Specializes in Critical Care. Has 20 years experience.

Where my daughter works, they currently have seven patients on ECMO, five waiting for lung transplants the other two recently cannulated.  All but the two have been clear of covid for quite a while. The lasting effects of Covid has turned their lungs into "ground beef" as my daughter describes it after a cardiac surgeon brought a pair of "covid lungs" to the CVICU after a successful heart-lung transplant to show the nursing staff.

ECMO is a life-changing treatment.  It's come leaps and bounds since I worked with ECMO patients in the CVICU about 20 years ago.  The story in the shared narrative above happens over and over and over.  Every single day.  There's just not enough ECMO circuits and the highly skilled professionals to manage them. 

Thanks for the share!