Doctors in Ho Chi Minh City have managed to implement the outside-the-body life support technique in an effort to rescue a young patient suffering from critical inflammation of the heart muscle.
The information was revealed on Wednesday by Truong Quang Dinh, director of the city’s Hospital of Pediatrics, who was referring to EMCO as the used intervention.
EMCO, standing for Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, is a technique providing machine-enabled cardiac support to people with insufficient oxygen in the blood, caused by problems in the heart and lungs.
On February 13, a 15-year-old girl named H.M.T., diagnosed to be in a serious condition with a cardiac inflammation called myocarditis, was transferred from a hospital in Ben Tre Province, southern Vietnam, to the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital of Pediatrics.
She had been treated for two days with no sign of improvement, on the verge of death from the damaged liver and kidney.
Doctors from the hospital in collaboration with their counterparts from Cho Ray Hospital, considered the best infirmary in Ho Chi Minh City, utilized ECMO to save the patient.
After 24 hours, her pulses and blood pressure became more stable, and heart functions gradually recovered.
On February 17, she was in full possession of her faculties, able to breathe unsupported, with cardiac functions reverting to normal.
The ECMO equipment was then removed. After one week of hospitalization, she completely recuperated.
The usual cost for the application of ECMO is VND150 million (US$6,000), but was waived in the case of the child patient.
The Ho Chi Minh City Hospital of Pediatrics is the first medical institution in southern Vietnam to use the ECMO equipment.