Christ Hospital utilizing ‘external lung’ treatment for COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure

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Christ Hospital in Jersey City is utilizing an “external lung” treatment for COVID-19 patients who experience respiratory failure, the first hospital in Hudson County to do so.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Many COVID patients die of respiratory failure, despite providing 100 percent oxygen and
positive pressure on mechanical on ventilators,” the hospital said in a statement.

“ECMO [Extracorporal Membrane Oxygenation Machines] … will serve as an ‘external lung’ to form pulmonary life-support for patients by ‘bypassing’ the failing lungs and providing oxygen to the oxygen-starved organs.”

Dr. Achintya Moulick, a cardiovascular surgeon and the CarePoint Health Chief Transition Officer, has an extensive history of providing ECMO to patients of all age groups and felt strongly that the same ECMO principles could be applied for COVID patients.

“With the addition of ECMO at Christ Hospital we can change the paradigm of care. We need to afford every possible chance to patients available in advanced quaternary care hospitals,” he said.

Two patients were placed on ECMO on May 12th and May 14th, respectively, and both are improving.

Additionally, Christ Hospital has setup a ECMO hotline that other hospitals can call by dialing 1-877-CPH ECMO.

When calling the ECMO hotline, you will speak to an ECMO consultant who can take the necessary details and arrange for a patient transfer to Christ Hospital – which has received one ECMO transfer since starting the new program.

On May 18th, Christ Hospital was treating 58 coronavirus patients, down considerably from their peak on April 9th (142), and 21 ventilators were available as of Monday, according to data compiled by the city.

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