China: a patient with severe coronavirus infection has been treated using ECMO(extracorporeal membrane oxygenation)

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by OhNoThatSucks



Google translation:

January 22, 2020 19:01 Beijing Daily Client This afternoon, good news came to the forefront of the fight against the epidemic. Wuhan University Zhongnan Hospital successfully used ECMO equipment to treat a patient with severe pneumonitis infection (male, 53 years old), the first case in Hubei Province.

53-year-old critically ill patient successfully treated

ECMO is a mobile cardiopulmonary apparatus, also known as artificial lung. It is an abbreviation of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. It is a method that replaces normal blood after it is drained from the human body and then oxygenated outside the body. Lung function machine.

By replacing normal lung function, ECMO can allow our lungs to fully rest and have time to recover. After our lungs recover, ECMO can be withdrawn when they can be used again by our bodies.

According to the Changjiang Daily, Xia Jian, deputy director of the Emergency Center of Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, revealed that Mr. Hu, a 53-year-old male patient from Huanggang, Hubei, returned home from the vegetable market on January 1st, and soon developed symptoms of chills and fever, and his temperature reached 39 ° C. At the local hospital, Mr. Hu’s treatment did not improve for several days, and he was transferred to Wuhan University Zhongnan Hospital on January 5.

Based on Mr. Hu’s medical condition and imaging examination, the doctor highly suspected the new coronavirus pneumonia, and his judgment was quickly confirmed.

Because Mr. Hu’s lungs were severely damaged, the doctor activated the ECMO device during the treatment. Since then, Mr. Hu’s lung infection has been gradually controlled, and the symptoms of hypoxia have improved significantly.

After one week, the patient withdrew the “artificial lung”. On January 17, the patient’s condition was stable and he was transferred to a general fever ward. Mr. Gao Shicheng, a tube bed doctor and deputy director of the infection department of Mr. Hu, said that at present, the lung lesions of patients are significantly reduced. If both nucleic acid tests are negative, the isolation can be released.

Changjiang Daily reported that this is the first new type of coronavirus pneumonia in Hubei Province to be successfully treated with ECMO.

Xia Jian said that ECMO has been widely used in acute and severe treatment in recent years, and it is the first time that it has been used in patients with pneumonitis infected by the new coronavirus. At present, it has been used in the treatment of major designated hospitals and has been applied to “critically ill patients in severe cases” among patients with the new coronavirus. At present, there are no specific antiviral drugs for new coronaviruses, and treatment is mainly symptomatic and supportive.


ECMO treatment is extremely expensive, even in China it costs around 20~30k USD just to start the machine and according to Google, an average ECMO patient had a total hospital cost of 210,142 USD.

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