Vietnamese doctors use ECMO technique to save newborn baby

Doctors of the Central Children Hospital in Hanoi have successfully applied the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) technique to save a 27 day old newborn baby who suffered from serious pneumonia and respiratory problems, the hospital announced yesterday.

The child patient was transferred from the General Hospital in the northern province of Hai Duong when he was suffering severe infection and breathing failure though doctors in Hai Duong put him on ventilator.

He had been treated in the hospital in Hai Duong in 2 weeks where doctors diagnosed him to have pneumonia but his condition did not abate after 2 week treatment; accordingly the hospital transferred to the Central Children Hospital.

The baby received intensive treatment yet his condition did not improve. Soon, doctors held a consultation and decided to use ECMO technique as the fatality rate is up to 100 percent. After one week, the baby’s condition improved as his lung and other organ function worked well and infection is no longer.

The hospital has successfully applied the technique to save 20 children with breathing problems before but all of them are older.

ECMO can help infants and children with a variety of medical problems and conditions, including a condition that occurs when meconium, the first stool of a newborn, is inhaled by the baby before or during delivery, and causes lung problems; Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS): a lung condition, usually in premature babies, that makes it difficult for babies to breathe on their own; persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN); pneumonia and end-stage cardiac or respiratory failure (as a bridge to transplant)

By MINH KHANG – translated by Uyen Phuong

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