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In a rare case, 44-year-old Scientist suffering from multi-organ failure owing to acute pancreatitis, treated via ECMO therapy at Fortis Gurugram

Date : May 30, 2022

Gurugram, 30th May 2022: In a rare case, doctors at Fortis Memorial Heart Institute successfully treated a 44-year-old young patient, a scientist by profession who was suffering from acute pancreatitis with the help of ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) therapy. The patient was presented with acute abdominal pain and breathlessness. Investigations based on blood test, ultrasound and MRI of abdomen revealed that a tiny stone from the gall bladder had slipped into the biliary ductal   of the patient, blocked the pancreas and caused acute pancreatitis (severely inflamed pancreas), the mortality of which is high even in developed countries.

The patient was immediately admitted to ICU, where a team of doctors led by Dr. Sandeep Dewan, Director & HOD, Critical Care Medicine and ECMO, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram immediately intervened. As the disease progressed, the patient’s body went into multi-organ failure due to extreme inflammatory response which critically affected the functioning of lungs and kidneys. Gasping for breath, the patient was initially managed on HFNC (High Flow Nasal Cannula) which is a device that supports 60 litres oxygen flow per minute. However, as his lungs were severely damaged and to maintain continuous oxygenation to the body, putting the patient on ventilator was the only option. Other co-morbidities - kidney failure and low blood pressure worsened the patient’s condition, post which he was started on CRRT (Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy - an artificial kidney in which blood is slowly drained from the body into complex tubes and filters as a proxy for kidney function). As the condition deteriorated, the patient had to be put on ECMO (Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation) therapy, in which blood is pumped outside the patient body to a heart-lung machine that removes carbon dioxide and sends oxygen-filled blood back to tissues in the patient.

Discussing the rare case, Dr. Sandeep Dewan, Director & HOD, Critical Care Medicine and ECMO, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram said, “This was an extremely rare case. According to published medical data, very few cases like this have been reported before. The patient, a scientist by profession, was battling for his life, even on maximum ventilator support. His oxygen levels were dropping continuously, and the only option left was to put him on VV ECMO (Venovenous Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation),it is the most advanced machine which acts as artificial lungs and artificial heart to support the oxygen requirement of the body.  15 days on ECMO were crucial for the patient’s recovery and survival. Slowly waiting for the lungs to heal, while on ECMO, CRRT and ventilator support all simultaneously, and battling other multiple infections due to underlying inflammation of pancreas, the patient began showing signs of recovery.Post being 15 days on ECMO Support, the patient recovered.”

It was a day of achievement when ECMO was finally taken off after 15 days. The look of the family as they finally communicated with him since he had battled with life, with almost all his vital organs having failed was miraculous. Slowly the kidney function resolved and he went home on his feet without oxygen or any support!The smiles as he finally spoke after about a month of ventilator supports and all the machines off him was what makes the struggle and handwork worth it!We at Fortis Gurugram were a part of this struggle against death and are proud to have fought it well. There are very few reported cases in the world where patients suffering from acute pancreatitis have been weaned on ECMO.” Dr. Dewan added.

Dr Ritu Garg, Zonal Director, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram said, It was a very challenging case considering the critical condition of the patient along with the multiple morbidities. Advanced technology like ECMO needs very meticulous monitoring and management which was done by the Intensivists of the Critical Care Department of Fortis Memorial Research Institute, who worked round the clock to manage the patient. The multi-disciplinary effort of the medical teams led by Dr. Sandeep Dewan gave a new lease of life to the patient whose chances of survival were minimal.”

About Fortis Healthcare Limited  

Fortis Healthcare Limited – an IHH Healthcare Berhad Company – is a leading integrated healthcare services provider in India. It is one of the largest healthcare organizations in the country with 27 healthcare facilities (including projects under development), 4100 operational beds and over 419 diagnostics centres (including JVs). Fortis is present in India, United Arab Emirates (UAE) & Sri Lanka. The Company is listed on the BSE Ltd and National Stock Exchange (NSE) of India. It draws strength from its partnership with global major and parent company, IHH, to build upon its culture of world-class patient care and superlative clinical excellence. Fortis employs 23,000 people (including SRL) who share its vision of becoming the world’s most trusted healthcare network. Fortis offers a full spectrum of integrated healthcare services ranging from clinics to quaternary care facilities and a wide range of ancillary services.

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