AIIMS-Bhubaneswar’s ECMO care gives 22-month-old girl new life


By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: The first patient put on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) at AIIMS-Bhubaneswar has successfully recovered. A 22-month-old girl from Dhenkanal who was suffering from pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP), a rare disease in lungs, was discharged from the hospital on Saturday.

The girl, claimed to be the youngest child in the country to have undergone the procedure, had tested positive for COVID-19 along with other family members in June and recovered in the same month.

However, she developed fever with breathing difficulty in July for which she was treated at a couple of hospitals in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. As the child’s condition did not improve, she was admitted to the paediatrics department of AIIMS.

The patient was immediately shifted to the paediatric ICU because of the difficulty in breathing with a high oxygen requirement. After investigations, she was suspected to be suffering from PAP, in which protein gets accumulated in both the lungs.

Since the only available treatment option for the disease is cleaning of both the lungs with saline, which is technically challenging in such a sick child, the AIIMS authorities formed an expert team of doctors to treat the girl.

The team decided to do the whole lung lavage (lung washing) by putting the child on ECMO support. “We conducted a bronchoscopy on the girl on August 30 and cleaned the protein deposited on her lungs. As the procedure was complicated, it took the whole day to finish,” said a treating doctor.

After the procedure, the girl’s condition improved dramatically. “We decided to carry out the same procedure once again on September 13 and this made her condition better. She has been discharged with minimal oxygen requirement. She is fine now,” the doctor said.

The team included Professor of Paediatric Surgery Dr Manoj Mohanty, paeditricians Dr Krishna Mohan Gulla, Dr Rashmi Ranjan Das, Dr Amit Satapathy, anaesthesiologists Dr Satyajit Mishra, Dr Bikram Kishore Behera and cardio-thoracic surgeon Dr Sidharth Sathia and Dr Satyapriya Mohanty.

AIIMS Director Prof Gitanjali Batmanabane said the team did a tremendous job while carrying out the arduous procedure to save the life of the girl. AIIMS is the first institute in the State to have the paediatric flexible bronchoscopy facility, which was inaugurated in July. The girl was provided free ECMO treatment.

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