Odisha To Import ECMO Machines For Critical COVID Care: DMET

Bhubaneswar: Taking note of the increasing need for Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) among critical COVID patients, the Odisha government has taken steps to import this equipment from abroad.

Informing the media on Wednesday, Director Medical Education and Training (DMET) CBK Mohanty said ECMO machines are not manufactured in India and tenders have been floated for procuring these from foreign countries.

Talking about ECMO, he said that it is a method in which the blood is drawn out of the body into a machine and mixed with oxygen using a special by-pass pump-circuit and then pumped back into the body. It works as an artificial heart-lung machine.

The DMET said that the ECMO was initially used for the patients requiring lungs transplant. “Now it has been found that some critical COVID patients suffering from severe pneumonia require oxygenation as they do not respond to ventilator support. To sustain them, ECMO has proved as the best medium of treatment. A few patients might need this treatment for up to a month or more,” he added.

He said that the life-saving equipment, however, does not guarantee a permanent cure.

Referring to the cost and use of the ECMO machine, Mohanty said that each machine costs around Rs 35 lakh, and the ECMO kit, which consists of medical consumables, cost around Rs 3 lakh.

He further said that installing the ECMO machines in the hospital will not solve the problem. “Skilled manpower is required to operate these machines,” he pointed out.

He said the daily expenses for operating these machines for the initial two days is around Rs 1.75 lakh-Rs 3 lakh after which Rs 80,000 to Rs 1 lakh charged per day thereafter. The charges vary according to hospitals.

“Apart from this, for 24-hour monitoring of the patient, an experienced cardiothoracic expert, a perfusionist and a cardiologist have to remain present, he added,”

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