Doctors apply ECMO preventing flu transmission to pregnant women

Doctors in Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi performed the first successful Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) operation on April 23.

The operation involves noninvasively assisting the cardiopulmonary system. The patient was a pregnant woman suffering from severe pneumonia due to A/H1N1 virus, said Professor Nguyen Gia Binh, head of the hospital’s Intensive Care Division.

Bui Thi Huong, 31, an employee at Cam Pha Cement Company in the northern province of Quang Ninh was discharged from the hospital on April 23. The expecting mother was hospitalized when she was suffering severe breathing problems. X-rays revealed that her lungs were most infected.

Though medical workers applied intensive treatment, her condition did not improve. Accordingly doctors decided to carry out an operation to take out her child to save both. Yet, Huong’s condition became worse.

Doctors resorted to start ECMO, a life-saving technique that mimics the natural function of the heart and lungs. After two weeks, Huong’s ailment abated. Her child was taken care of in the hospital in good condition.

By Nguyen Quoc - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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