Technique, ineffective on Jayalalithaa, revitalised techie’s heart in 24 hours

Days ago, Srinath, a resident of Bengaluru, suffered from fever but had to be admitted in the ICU two days later as, much to the shock of his family, his heart had stopped functioning.
Technique, ineffective on Jayalalithaa,...
India TV News Desk Bengaluru December 13, 2016 12:23 IST

Days ago, Srinath, a resident of Bengaluru, suffered from fever but had to be admitted in the ICU two days later as, much to the shock of his family, his heart had stopped functioning. 

Srinath was a fitness freak and had never complained about any kind of heart problem. The 43-year-old techie was diagnosed with myocarditis, an inflammation in the heart musle, says a Times of India report. 

Srinath, who was at that time struggling between life and death, is all right now. What saved his life was extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) – the same procedure used by doctors at Apollo Hospitals, Chennai – to treat late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa last week. 

ECMO involves the use of a machine, which drains out blood from the patient’s body, removes carbon dioxide and pumps oxygen into the RBCs to revive the heart. 

“The awareness about ECMO is low, even among doctors in India. It can support even a severely damaged heart. For instance, if a healthy person suffers a heart attack, we can support him/her with an artificial heart. There's a need to create more awareness about the procedure,” renowned cardiac surgeon Dr Devi Shetty was quoted by Times of India as saying. 

Narayana Hrudayalaya has conducted ECMO on over 500 patients, including Srinath, whose heart function was revived in 24 hours. 

Dr H Sudarshan Ballal, chairman at Manipur Hospitals, said that ECMO is used in two critical conditions – when the heart stops functioning, like in the case of Jayalalithaa, and when lung infection is compromised because of infection, severe pneumonia or injury. 

He added that while ECMO has been used to cure several patients during the H1N1 epidemic, its success rate depends on how bad the heart’s condition is when it malfunctions. Moreover, the cost of the procedure ranges between Rs 3 lakh to Rs 8 lakh. 

Srinath is leading a normal life today and is even back to work. 

“There was no blood flow to my brain, my cardiac function was nil and I was almost dead. My heart got infected by a virus that my body contracted when I had viral fever,” he said. 

“Within a day of being put on the ECMO machine, my heart's function increased from zero to 10% and after five days, it touched 25 per cent. It came as a pleasant surprise to my family members who had almost given up hope,” Srinath added. 

In the next two days, he was shifted to the general ward and after 10 days, his heart function shot up by 35 per cent – when 15 per cent less than a normal person. 

 
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