Guwahati: The Department of Cardiac Thoracic & Vascular Surgery at Excelcare Hospitals successfully conducted an extremely high-risk procedure for a COVID-19 Pneumonia patient as an emergency life-saving procedure, a first in the Northeast.

A team led by Dr Manuj Kumar Saikia (Chief Cardiac Surgeon) & Dr. Intekhab Alam (Consultant Cardiac Surgeon) successfully instituted VV ECMO (Veno-Venous Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation).

The patient, a 61-year-old female from Jorhat tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to the Hospitals on April 23 for treatment. During the time, there was rapid progression in the disease. She had to be shifted to the COVID ICU for intensive treatment as she developed COVID related ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome).

Dr. Satyaki Saikia (Consultant-Internal Medicine) said, “Despite our best efforts the patient’s condition was deteriorating rapidly. Her pneumonitis was progressing so rapidly in spite of antiviral therapy and steroids that it was becoming more and more challenging to maintain a steady oxygen saturation. The patient descended into the dreaded Cytokine Storm and had to be put on Bi-PAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure) ventilation. Cytokine Storm is a severe immune reaction in which the body releases too many cytokines into the blood too quickly. Cytokines play an important role in normal immune responses but having a large amount of them released in the body all at once can be life threatening and rapidly damages the delicate pulmonary membrane through which gas exchange takes place.”

Dr Manuj Kumar Saikia said, “This was a very challenging case as there was very high risk of complications and condition of the patient was very fragile. It was a question of survival as being on prolonged ventilation could further cause great stress to the lungs.”

Dr. Neil Bardoloi, Chief Cardiologist said, “The patient in question is now stable and maintaining 100% oxygen saturation. Her condition is being closely monitored 24×7 by team of Intensivists led by Dr Brajen Sharma. This is the beginning of an emerging paradigm in the treatment of severely and critically ill patients in this region which otherwise had to accept the fate of nature or had to travel outside the state for the same, which is not possible at this point in time. This facility in Excelcare Hospitals has not only opened up a new era in the treatment of critically ill patients in Assam and adjoining regions but has also raised the standard of treatment to be at par with the best National and International standards.”

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