Hi, it’s Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com with another quick tip for families in intensive care.
Today’s tip is about ARDS in ICU. ARDS also stands for lung failure in ICU and at the moment with COVID-19, ARDS seems to be everywhere because of the COVID-19 infections lead to ARDS or lung failure.
So what we see with clients at the moment that have loved ones in intensive care with COVID-19 and ARDS or lung failure, the chest x-rays often show or bronchoscopies often show that the lungs are scarred with ARDS and lung failure and that often diminishes chances to wean off the ventilator. It often leads to prolonged stays in ICU. It leads to being resistant to therapy. It leads to tracheostomies and it therefore often leads to long-term ventilation in ICU or outside of ICU.
In order to avoid that, one way to get the lungs to potentially heal quicker is, that instead of the prone position, which is often the first-line treatment for ARDS or lung failure, prone position is basically when you put a patient on their tummy, head down to drain fluids, to increase perfusion of the lungs, to make sure that oxygen/carbon dioxide can be exchanged in the lungs and so a ventilated patient can stay alive with ARDS or lung failure.
That can be effective, but we are finding at the moment, that it’s not greatly effective and patients can’t come off the ventilator, their lungs are still scarred.
So another form of therapy, besides prone position is simply ECMO. ECMO is basically an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. It’s basically a machine that takes over the function of the lungs and in some instances of the heart and exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide in this external machine, and therefore the lungs can actually have a rest and can heal.
So my tip today is really, if your loved one is in the early stages of COVID-19, ARDS or lung failure, doesn’t respond to Remdesivir, doesn’t respond to steroids, doesn’t respond to nitric oxide, doesn’t respond to Epoprostenol, then you should ask for ECMO as quickly as possible.
The challenge at the moment with ECMO especially with COVID-19, the demand for ECMO beds is very, very high. The ECMO beds in ICU are limited. The number of staff that can look after ECMO patients is limited, but you still need to know about it because we are finding that most of our clients that have loved ones in the ICU with COVID-19, in prone positions, do not know about ECMO. The ICU is not telling them, very few ICUs have ECMO available and they don’t want to send their patients to an ECMO center to other ICUs because they’re potentially losing out on revenue.
So ask for ECMO early on. You can find more information about ECMO on our website, just type in ECMO in the search function on our website.
That is my quick tip for today. If you have a loved one in intensive care, please check out intensivecarehotline.com. Call us on one of the numbers on the top of our website. Like this video, comment below what you want to see next and subscribe to my YouTube channel.
This is Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com and I’ll talk to you in a few days.