Sidra Medicine is the only hospital in Qatar and the Middle East to offer a neonatal respiratory ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation service), it was announced Wednesday.
ECMO works by taking over the function of the lungs and sometimes the heart, and allowing the organs to rest and recover from a reversible condition like meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS).
Baby Adam was born with MAS condition at Hamad Medical Corporation’s Women’s Wellbeing and Research Center. It was quickly determined that the baby was suffering from severe respiratory issues and that the only option to save his life and reduce the risk of brain damage, would require the help of ECMO.
Since Adam’s heart was still functioning properly, he only needed the ECMO machine to do the work for his lungs. Without ECMO, Adam only had a 10% chance of survival, but with it, his chances could go up by 85%
During Adam’s ECMO process, blood was taken out of his body from the right side via a tube and circulated through the machine to remove carbon dioxide and add oxygen. It was then warmed back up to body temperature and returned to the right side of the heart, which then pumped the blood out to his body. This form of bypass, called venovenous, is used in conditions when only the lungs need support, and if the heart is working properly.
After four days on ECMO, Adam was weaned off and supported with a traditional ventilator. Soon afterwards, his breathing tube was removed, and in less than three weeks, he was discharged.
The neonatal respiratory ECMO programme at Sidra Medicine provides both ECMO and renal dialysis. Sidra Medicine has also launched a mobile ECMO unit that can be transported to other hospitals to help save the lives of babies who may have an urgent need for it. The mobile ECMO unit is able to go to any hospital in Qatar to immediately deliver treatment and care.