ECMO machine helps 3-month hospitalized COVID-19 survivor – fr

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ECMO machine helps 3-month hospitalized COVID-19 survivor – fr


This story begins with a video of a woman hooked up to an elaborate machine you have probably never seen before that keeps her alive. For this Troy woman, Beaumont’s doctors knew this was probably her last chance to survive Covid.

A mom watches Kristi Kowalski learn to walk recently, but this time the daughter is 29 and mom can only be with her virtually on an iPad.

“I can’t believe you are walking,” she said.

When Kristi tested positive for Covid in November 2020, she didn’t expect her strong body to shut down completely.

“Everyone says one minute I texted them and spoke to them, the next minute we knew I was on a ventilator,” she said.

When you breathe in, your lungs oxygenate your blood, the heart pumps it. But in really sick Covid patients like Kristi, the lungs are too weak.

ECMO removes all of the body’s blood, oxygen and backs it up – while the heart and lungs are resting.

“Initially, we provide them with support with ventilators to help push oxygen into the lungs,” said Dr Felicia Ivascu of Beaumont. “And to help it get into the blood.” But sometimes the lungs are so sick that it doesn’t work. “

Dr Ivascu knew his only option was ECMO, a complex machine that removes all the body’s blood, oxygen, and pushes it back – while the heart and lungs rest.

“This is where ECMO came in,” Kristi said, pointing to two marks on the lower part of her neck. “And he came out of my leg. “

“The biggest concern of patients with ECMO is that we do everything for them when it comes to giving them oxygen,” said Dr. Ivascu. “If the machines stop, they die instantly, because it is as if they are holding their breath.

Weeks go by and Kristi’s lungs slowly heal, but the rest of her body is weak.

“My phone was too heavy to even lift,” she says.

It would take her weeks to sit, then get up, then walk, while still being connected to ECMO. These are the first steps in a long recovery.

Now in physiotherapy, still on medication and using an oxygen tank, Kristi is getting stronger. As she impatiently waits, she also looks back.

“I have received cards from people who are friends of friends,” she says.

She can’t have visitors because of Covid, but instead cards and posters to celebrate the holidays after Kristi spent three months in the hospital.

Even though she doesn’t remember much, she will never forget how the Beaumont team made her feel.

“They did 100 times more than you would expect from a nurse,” she said. “And I’m grateful every day for each of them. Because without them I would probably be in a much worse shape. I think mentally I would not have been well. They made me continue, they told me how strong I would be. was and I have to thank them for my life.

Kristi also celebrates getting engaged shortly after returning from 90 days in the hospital.

When it comes to ECMO and Covid patients, data is being collected around the world to see how this can help the sickest Covid patients survive, especially those who are young and relatively healthy before infection – and those who can handle this treatment.

The belief is that without ECMO most of these patients would not have survived.

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