Intensive care procedure saves lives, claims swine flu study
Washington: Many patients suffering from symptoms of the H1N1 (Swine flu) virus required support treatment with heart-lung machines, researchers have pointed out.The Australia and New Zealand Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ANZ ECMO) Influenza Investigators looked at factors including degree of lung dysfunction in patients, how many were admitted and the duration of treatment and survival.
According to the report in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), doctors treated patients with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), the most advanced and invasive form of life support available for lung failure, during the time when the pandemic was at its peak this year.
Dr Andrew Davies, Senior Research Fellow at the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centre, and his team made use of ECMO, that has been used rarely previously, to save lives.
The Monash University researcher said: "We had not used ECMO machines to treat swine flu patients before because the disease was new to us – but now we know the treatment works and despite the severity of patients`` symptoms, most survived.”
Dr David Gattas, Intensive Care Specialist at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, added: “The findings of the study should be widely read in the Northern Hemisphere and we hope this knowledge will help medical teams who may have to make fast decisions about starting advanced life supports such as ECMO. Many of these severely affected flu victims can survive.”