Swine flu or H1N1 virus seems to have spread all across Mumbai. As a measure to treat a patient suffering from swine flu, a city hospital has successfully used a therapy called ECMO (extra corporeal membrane oxygenator) to save a patient.
Varsha Mehta was down with severe swine flu for almost a month. However, right after the fifth day, the doctors realised that her lungs were damaged due to the flu. “Varsha was discharged after 26 days of hospitalisation. The doctors performed a complex therapy which can be said to act like dialysis for the lungs. Varsha has recovered now,” said Mahavir Mehta, Varsha’s husband.
Mehta who runs a medical store in Kurla and says that the doctor did an exemplary job.
“Mehta was affected with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), that causes damage to the entire body due to lack of oxygen supply,” said Dr Amit Shobhavat, Consulting Physician for DNB Internal Medicine at Somaiya Multispeciality Hospital.
Mehta is discharged and is completely healthy after the doctors performed ECMO therapy on her. The doctor said that the system is a complex one, “ECMO is a system in which impure blood is taken out of the body and purified using a machine. The same blood is then oxygenated from the supply outside the body and returned to the body in a complex method,” added Dr Shobhavat.
However, this machine is not very frequently used in Mumbai say doctors. “ECMO therapy is a highly specialised therapy which requires a high level of expertise given its high maintenance cost. The machine works like an artificial lung,” said Dr Gautam Bhansali, Consultant Physician at Bombay Hospital.
Furthermore, doctors say that the therapy works wonderfully if performed in the initial stages of swine flu. “As soon as you perform this therapy, the faster and better improvement of the health can be expected,” added Dr Bhansali.