By Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Oct. 1, 2020 (HealthDay Information) — A life support approach referred to as ECMO has saved the lives of many critically unwell COVID-19 sufferers, a brand new research exhibits.
The ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) machine takes over the perform of the lungs and coronary heart. Blood is pumped from the physique into gear that provides oxygen to the blood earlier than it is returned to the physique.
This system has saved lives in earlier epidemics of lung-damaging viruses, however small research revealed early within the coronavirus pandemic questioned its effectiveness.
This worldwide research included 1,035 COVID-19 sufferers at excessive danger of dying as a result of ventilators and different varieties of care could not assist their lungs.
After being positioned on ECMO, the dying charge amongst these sufferers was lower than 40%, in keeping with the research authors.
“These outcomes from hospitals skilled in offering ECMO are much like previous experiences of ECMO-supported sufferers, with different types of acute respiratory distress syndrome or viral pneumonia,” mentioned co-author Dr. Ryan Barbaro, of the College of Michigan.
“The outcomes assist suggestions to contemplate ECMO in COVID-19 if the ventilator is failing. We hope these findings assist hospitals make choices about this resource-intensive possibility,” Barbaro mentioned in a college information launch.
Most facilities on this research didn’t want to make use of ECMO for COVID-19 fairly often, mentioned research co-author Graeme MacLaren, of the Nationwide College Well being System in Singapore.
“By bringing information from over 200 worldwide facilities collectively into the identical research, [it] has deepened our information about the usage of ECMO for COVID-19 in a means that will be inconceivable for particular person facilities to study on their very own,” MacLaren mentioned within the launch.
Whereas the research reveals that ECMO can save the lives of COVID-19 sufferers who present indicators of requiring superior life assist, it must be offered at hospitals with skilled ECMO groups, the researchers mentioned. Hospitals should not attempt to add ECMO functionality within the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, they added.
The outcomes have been revealed Sept. 25 in The Lancet medical journal.