Hi, it’s Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com with another quick tip for families in intensive care.
So I had a question from one of our readers, Greg and Greg asks, when should treatment be withdrawn when a patient after cardiac arrest is on ECMO? So what are the timelines around that?
What a great question Greg, and let’s break this down for you. So, sometimes what happens when patients have a cardiac arrest, they end up on ECMO. ECMO basically takes over the function of the heart while the heart is recovering from an event such as a cardiac arrest. It gives the heart time to recover, regain some of the functions while supporting the heart with inotropic or vasopressor therapy.
And again, then also look at other options, sometimes ECMO is used as a bridge to a VAD (Ventricular Assist Device) and that can be used as a bridge to a heart transplant. But that would be as a next step if the heart can’t recover, if ejection fraction, for example, is poor, which is the contractility of the heart and so forth.
So the maximum time a patient can spend on ECMO is sort of around the 3-week mark that’s what I’ve seen, certainly up to three weeks roughly. And if the heart doesn’t recover in that timeframe, then the next step is a VAD (Ventricular Assist Device) and that can be used as a bridge to a heart transplant.
So that’s my tip for today. Go and like this video, subscribe to my channel and also leave a comment below what questions you have. And if you have a family member in intensive care and you need help, go and check out intensivecarehotline.com and call us on one of the numbers on the top of the website, or simply send me an email to [email protected].
This is Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com and I’ll talk to you in a few days.