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From despair to hope: advanced therapy gives a lifeline to the sickest COVID-19 patients

From despair to hope: advanced therapy gives a lifeline to the sickest COVID-19 patients

More than two months later, that piece of paper still lies on her coffee table with four letters on it: “E-C-M-O.”

Irena Veronese had never heard that acronym before, but when it was first mentioned to her, it meant moving from complete despair to a shred of hope of saving her husband’s life from COVID-19.

The treatment called Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) consists of a machine that oxygenates the blood outside the body. It is normally used for transplant patients or patients with severe heart or lung disease.

During this pandemic, it has also been used as a last resort to save some of the sickest COVID-19 patients at UHN’s Toronto General Hospital (TGH).

Mladen Veronese turned 54 on April 1, the same day that he was taken to hospital. He had no pre-existing conditions, but was one of the cases where COVID-19 symptoms got very bad, very fast.

Mladen has barely any recollection of that day, but when he arrived at St. Michaels Hospital on his birthday, his breathing had deteriorated to a point that he couldn’t finish a sentence. He needed support from mechanical ventilation.

CriticalCare.news
June 24, 2020

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