Apollo Children’s Hospitals, Chennai’s leading pediatric hospital and the only hospital in Chennai to house an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine exclusively for children with successful outcomes, has helped a critical H1N1 12 year old Soubashre survive.
ECMO – a modified heart lung machine claimed by doctors as the ultimate life saving technology is slowly being incorporated in treatment of severe lung infections in children. While successful outcomes speak for the advantages of ECMO, many physicians prefer to opt out of ECMO, fearing complications and the high cost factor.
- ECMO stands for Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation. It is a procedure that uses a machine to take over the work of the lungs and sometimes the heart
- Soubhashree is the first child ECMO H1N1 survivor
- The entire treatment regime can cost about Rs 10-45 lakhs in India and can cost Rs 1 crore or more abroad.
- Early referrals make all the difference. The key is to initiate it early enough for a good outcome , before other organs begin to fail
Dr Indira Jayakumar, Senior Consultant Emergency & Intensive Care, Apollo Children’s Hospitals said, “We are the only facility in Chennai offering ECMO treatment for children exclusively with successful outcomes. Not only do we have the system and technology in place, we are also supported by the best technicians, physicians and support staff that can ensure the best possible treatment. While Soubashre here was suffering from H1N1, people have to understand that ECMO can be used to treat other severe lung infections as well.”
“By taking over the work of the heart and lungs, the machine gives a child’s heart or lungs a chance to recover. ECMO supports the patient for days to weeks. Soubashre was hooked to the system for 19 days,” she added.
To initiate ECMO, catheters are placed in large blood vessels to provide access to the patient’s blood stream and anticoagulant drugs are given to prevent blood clotting. The ECMO machine continuously removes blood from the patient and performs gas exchange, like artificial lungs, before returning the blood to the patient. This technology requires a dedicated team of medical and paramedical experts with round the clock bedside care.
ECMO has proven useful in pneumonia due to infections – H1N1 and other viruses bacterial , scrub typhus , aspiration and also heart failure. It can also be used in any treatable cause of lung failure , buying time for healing, repair and recovery.
Ms Preetha Reddy, Executive Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals added, “Ever since Apollo’s inception, we have invested heavily in technology and resources which we feel will create an impact on patient’s lives and help in quicker recovery. Human life is priceless and we will ensure that we do everything in our capacity to treat patients who seek our help. State-of-the-art technology coupled with well-informed doctors, physicians and efficient support system is what has made this possible.”
A single ECMO equipment can cost about Rs 45 lakhs, which can be a deterrent to many. In this context with this, Maquet, leading ECMO equipment manufacturer has come forward and announced that it will donate an ECMO equipment to ACH adding to the already existing system giving the hospital the ability to treat more than one child at a time.
About Apollo Hospitals
It was in 1983, that Dr. Prathap Reddy made a pioneering endeavour by launching India’s first corporate hospital – Apollo Hospitals in Chennai. Over the years Apollo Hospitals has established itself as home to the largest cardiac practice in India with over 160,000 cardiac surgeries. Apollo Hospitals is also the world’s largest private cancer care provider and runs the world’s leading solid organ transplant program.
Now, as Asia’s foremost integrated healthcare services group, its presence includes Hospitals, Pharmacies, Primary Care and Diagnostic Clinics and Telemedicine units across 10 countries, Health Insurance services, Global Projects Consultancy, colleges of Nursing and Hospital Management and a Research Foundation with focus on global Clinical Trials, epidemiological studies, stem cell & genetic research, and the first Proton Therapy Center across Asia, Africa and Australia.
In a rare honor, the Government of India issued a commemorative stamp in recognition of Apollo’s contribution, the first for a healthcare organization. Apollo Hospitals Chairman, Dr. Prathap C Reddy, was conferred with the prestigious Padma Vibhushan in 2010. For more than 32 years, the Apollo Hospitals Group has continuously excelled and maintained leadership in medical innovation, world-class clinical services and cutting-edge technology. Today, Apollo hospitals are consistently ranked amongst the best hospitals globally for advanced medical services and research.