An IT professional brought back to life with ECMO support after severe COVID Pneumonia
A 39-year-old IT professional from Bangalore, battling severe COVID Pneumonia, was resuscitated with the help of ECMO support and made a successful recovery at BGS Gleneagles Hospital. Mr Mahesh, known for his fitness regimen and with no prior medical history, was admitted to the hospital on November 22nd, 2021, with high Fever, Hypoxia, and severe symptoms. After a thorough assessment, doctors identified the criticality of his condition and promptly transferred him to the ICU. As his health rapidly deteriorated, the medical team, in collaboration with the COVID team, CTVS specialists, and the ICU team, decided to initiate ECMO support, ultimately saving his life.
Mr Mahesh, an IT professional residing in Bangalore, sought medical attention at BGS Gleneagles Hospital due to symptoms of Hypoxia, persistent cough, and high Fever. Despite being a dedicated fitness enthusiast and fully vaccinated as per government guidelines, his health rapidly declined, necessitating urgent medical intervention. CT Scan results revealed a severe Lung Infection with a score of 22 out of 25, prompting a comprehensive treatment plan.
Dr Gourishankar Reddy Mane, Head of Medical ICU and COVID ICU at BGS Gleneagles Hospital, expressed initial scepticism given the severity of Mr Mahesh's condition. However, his young age and absence of comorbidities instilled hope in the medical team, leading them to pursue an aggressive treatment approach. Unfortunately, his health continued to deteriorate over the next seven days despite all conventional treatments. As a last resort, the team opted for invasive ventilation and subsequently ECMO support.
With the consent of Mr Mahesh's family, the medical team placed him on a ventilator at midnight on November 26th. However, his response to this intervention was suboptimal. Determined to combat the infection and stabilize his vital signs, the doctors initiated Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) support, also known as "life support," at 3 AM on November 27th. Mr Mahesh remained on ECMO and in the ICU for more than 15 days, facing several challenges such as infections and episodes of bleeding, which required constant monitoring.
Dr Raghavendrra Chikatoor, Senior Consultant and Head of CTVS & Transplant Department, BGS Gleneagles Hospital, explained the role of ECMO as a vital machine for severely ill patients when their Hearts and Lungs are no longer functioning properly. In cases like Mr Mahesh's, where Refractory Respiratory Failure and severe COVID Pneumonia were present, ECMO enables the Blood to bypass the Lungs, allowing them to rest and heal. Due to bleeding concerns, a special Anticoagulant, Bilavuridin, was used instead of the usual Heparin to maintain Blood thinness within the ECMO circuit.
Dr Sandeepa H S, Pulmonologist at BGS Gleneagles Hospital, highlighted that Mr Mahesh's admission occurred during an advanced stage of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Late presentation to the hospital, along with attempts at self-medication, contributed to the criticality of his condition, with 90% Lung damage upon arrival. While some other Organ systems were partially affected, they responded favourably to appropriate medical interventions.
Fortunately, Mr Mahesh showed promising progress with ECMO support and is currently on a path to recovery. His CT score has improved from 22 to 18, indicating positive signs of improvement. He has been transitioned from the ICU to the General Ward and remains under close observation.
The ICU team, led by Dr Gourishankar Reddy Manne, the Pulmonology team headed by Dr Vishwanath Bellad and Dr Sandeepa H S, and the CTVS team, including Dr Raghavendrra Chikatoor and Dr Madhusudana N, meticulously handled Mr Mahesh's case. With the right medical support and Physiotherapy, he is expected to make a full recovery within three months.
Sandeep Kumar, CEO of BGS Gleneagles Hospital, emphasizes the importance of monitoring one's health daily, especially in the presence of symptoms such as Fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Timely medical attention is crucial, as COVID-19 can cause significant damage if left untreated. Mr Mahesh's successful treatment at a tertiary care centre exemplifies the comprehensive care provided under one roof.
He further advises individuals to remain vigilant by monitoring symptoms, tracking body temperature, and oxygen saturation levels, and promptly updating their family doctors to ensure early intervention and timely treatment.