A pregnant mother tested positive for H1N1 virus got treated at the Fortis Escorts Heart Institute (FEHI), New Delhi. The doctors managed to protect the 24-week fetus of the mother-to-be from contracting swine flu.
Swapnil Mishra, 30, from Noida was admitted to the hospital with fever, persistent cough and shortness of breath. When her condition worsened and blood oxygen level went extremely low, she was put on ventilator.
As Mishra's condition continued to deteriorate, Fortis doctors opted for ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) machine, which acts as a heart-lung bypass. It can support and perform functions of lung and heart, separately as well as together.
Meanwhile, a gynecologist too monitored her situation and the health of fetus through repeated ultrasounds. After 15 days, patient was weaned off ECMO and her fetus was alive and thriving, Goyal said.
The ECMO circuit acts as an artificial heart and lung for the patient during ECMO therapy and can be used for patients of all ages.
However, ECMO also involved complications like bleeding, intrauterine fetal death and spontaneous abortion. All this was explained to the family, doctors said.
"This is the first reported case in India of a pregnant swine flu patient where both the mother and the fetus survived. It was a challenging case, fraught with complications and risks," said Kousar Ali Shah, Zonal Director, at the hospital.
Incidence of swine flu is increasing at an alarming rate in the country. According to the Directorate General of Health Services, so far 1,196 people have been diagnosed with the disease.
H1N1, a self-limiting viral, airborne disease spread from person-to-person through large droplets generated by coughing and sneezing, indirect contact by touching a contaminated object or surface like phone, computer, door handle, door bell, pens, toys, and close contact (including handshaking, hugging and kissing).