For the first time in India doctors use artificial lung to save a new born baby girl who struggled to breathe soon after birth. The baby weighed 2.8 kg and was born at Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre in Chennai where doctors diagnosed that she was suffering from lung failure.
The child at the time of delivery, was diagnosed with 'aspirated meconium' and was shifted to the neonatal intensive care unit connected to a ventilator at the hospital. Aspirated meconium may happen after delivery when a baby inhales a mixture of meconium and amniotic fluid (the fluid in which the baby floats inside the womb). As the baby's condition worsened, doctors used 'artificial lungs' to take over the function of child's lung.
"We had to use the best ventilator strategies and a special gas called Nitric Oxide, in addition to supporting the heart and other systems, but we realized the lungs were worsening. We needed to take over the function of the lung and give it a rest in order to help it recover", said Dr Binu Ninan, Head-Neonatology, Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre.
"We used the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) procedure which is similar to heart-lung machine, used to do the function of heart and lung using an artificial pump and membrane outside the body during heart surgery", she said. ECMO procedure is practiced among babies and children who have severe lung failure due to pneumonia.
Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre Head-Cardiothoracic Surgery Dr T Periasamy said. "It has never been successful in newborn babies with lung failure in India. A delay of even a few hours could have been fatal. We had to counsel the parents about the procedure." A team comprising cardiac surgeons, cardiologist, perfusionist and neonatologists performed the procedure. The baby had been discharged after a month's stay in the hospital.