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VA- ECMO: A New Modality for Patients with Cardio-Respiratory Failure
2021-07-02

VA- ECMO: A New Modality for Patients with Cardio-Respiratory Failure

VA-ECMO is of great help to the heart and lungs that stand at risk. Find out all about this latest technological advancement that becomes resourceful to many.

Recently, a 30 year old young man who had cardiogenic shock caused by post-covid Myocarditis was brought back to life with the support of VA-ECMO at VPS Lakeshore Hospital. This support has helped the young man survive the extremely critical condition and it is vital to understand the significance of this advanced support system particularly during the Covid period.

What is VA- ECMO?
Venoarterial Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation or VA-ECMO is a kind of temporary mechanical circulatory support system for heart and lungs. This aids in managing the patient in the incidence of cardio-respiratory failure where the patient is not responsive to the conventional treatment methods.This support system aids both heart and lung functions till the organs regain their capability to work properly. 

Indications for VA-ECMO
This is one kind of modality for patients with;
Viral Myocarditis: Myocarditis caused by a viral infection can weaken the heart, which leads to heart failure, and sudden death. Covid infection can lead to Myocarditis.
Stress Cardiomyopathy: This is a condition caused by intense emotional or physical stress. This can cause severe cardiac dysfunction.
Cardiogenic Shock: This life-threatening condition happens when your heart suddenly cannot pump enough blood that is necessary for normal body function.
Pulmonary Embolism: This condition is caused by a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in the lungs. The blood clots that travel to the lungs from deep veins in the legs is the major reason for this condition. 
Acute Myocardial Infarction with Cardiogenic Shock: Myocardial infarction, commonly known as heart attack, occurs when the blood flow to the heart is blocked and without blood, tissue loses oxygen and this leads the patient to a critical condition. 

Each of these cases requires sudden intervention and VA-ECMO is the most advanced technology available to manage these in the present situation.