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VV ECMO Saves Covid Patient with Brain Hemorrhage at VPS Lakeshore – First of its kind in Kerala

After 82 days of hospital stay, Mr. Ram Naresh, 34 years old IT professional, is back to health and got discharged today

Ram Naresh with Dr. Nebhu, Dr. Sujith, Dr. Sandya and his family

VV ECMO, an advanced mechanical circulatory support system, saved a young, critically ill covid patient with intracranial bleeding and lung failure (COVID ARDS), at VPS Lakeshore hospital Kochi. After 82 days of hospital stay, Mr. Ram Naresh, 34 years old IT professional, is back to health and got discharged today.

Mr. Naresh, a native of Andhra Pradesh, was airlifted here from Trivandrum on 13th June 2021, with pneumothorax (collapsed lung), pneumopericardium (air around the heart),  pneumomediastinum (air in the chest) and brain hemorrhage.  
The patient had a history of covid infection and was under treatment at an FLTC in Trivandrum where he developed intense breathlessness and pneumonia and shifted to a hospital at Trivandrum. As his condition worsened, he was intubated and was on ventilator support. He had developed severe covid ARDS and couldn’t maintain oxygen level and had episodes of seizure on ventilator.

 As his health deteriorated, the only possibility to save his life according to the medical team was to initiate him on ECMO. Since the facility to initiate the support was unavailable there, a mobile ECMO support was transferred there and he was airlifted to VPS Lakeshore. Prior to the initiation, he had shown symptoms of brain hemorrhage and the CT scan confirmed it, which elevated the risk.
“It is a highly uncertain measure to initiate ECMO on a patient who has brain hemorrhage. Despite the risk factors, we went ahead and put him on Heparin free VV ECMO with the consent of the relatives. Even though it took a while for him to respond to the treatment, the patient has slowly regained his life and is returning home” says Dr Sujith D S, Cardiac Surgeon, VPSLakeshore Hospital Kochi.

“VV ECMO or Veno-Venous Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation is a support system which aids lung function till the organ regains its capability to work properly and this support system has been saving many lives during this pandemic,” Dr. Sujith added.

After 56 days of treatment, the patient was weaned off of VV ECMO support and was kept on a ventilator for another 15 days. Today he got discharged and will be under rehabilitation. “We were hopeless, but the kind of treatment and care he got here saved him. We can’t express how grateful we are to all the doctors, nurses, and the whole team who took care of my brother all these days”, says Ms. Sreelakshmi, Ram Naresh’s sister.  

Along with Dr. Sujith, Dr. M. S. Nebhu (Cardiac Anesthesiologist), Suresh .G (Chief Perfusionist), Mr. Geo (Perfusionist), Ms. Biji, (CS ICU In-Charge), and other supporting staff were involved in the management of the patient.

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