Jordi Font Comas d’Argemir |
Barcelona (EFE) replaces the function of the lungs.
The little girl has already been discharged from the ICU and this Friday she was present in the arms of her mother, Radya Bakkari, at the press conference at the Department of Health to present her case, that of the smallest baby ever transferred connected to this machine, ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation).
“Thanks to the doctors and nurses, now I can hold my daughter here in my arms, otherwise she wouldn’t be here,” the mother expressed, visibly moved, holding Aisha.
Transferred by ambulance already connected to ECMO
The little girl was born at the beginning of March at the Verge de la Cinta Hospital in Tortosa (Tarragona) and was immediately referred to the Joan XXIII Hospital in Tarragona due to meconium aspiration syndrome, which occurs when an infection or low oxygen concentrations forces the fetus to to take gasps of air, so that it inhales the amniotic fluid that contains meconium (the first feces) and this is deposited in the lungs.
“It is a highly inflammatory liquid that causes respiratory failure and is one of the most serious complications that a full-term newborn can have,” explained the head of the pediatric and neonatal critical section at Joan XXIII, Mar Albújar.
After the first few hours and seeing that Aisha did not improve at a respiratory level, the Joan XXIII specialists contacted Vall d’Hebron and agreed that she needed to be connected to ECMO.
In the early hours of March 5, a team made up of 12 professionals from the Emergency Medical System (SEM) and the Vall d’Hebron and Sant Joan de Déu hospitals in Esplugues de Llobregat (Barcelona), traveled to the Joan XXIII from Tarragona to start ECMO therapy and transfer the little girl connected to Barcelona.
live without breathing
ECMO, which removes blood from the patient’s body and oxygenates it before reintroducing it, replaces the functions of the lungs or heart so that these organs can rest and thus give them a chance to recover.
Thus, the machine “allows patients to live without breathing”, explained the director of Vall d’Hebron’s pediatric and neonatal ECMO, Joan Balcells.
ECMO is used within a few highly specialized hospitals, both in children and adults, but it is not so frequent that it is installed in an EMS ambulance and a patient is transferred connected to it.
Aisha is the smallest baby to have been transferred by ambulance with ECMO, a machine to which she was connected in Vall d’Hebron for almost ten days, until her lungs were able to function autonomously again; two months after admission, the baby was discharged.
A pioneering and consolidated program
Although the Pediatric EMS of Catalonia has led to twelve transfers with ECMO of minors in the last decade, part of them from other autonomous communities, the Minister of Health, Manel Balcells, has indicated that now a further step has been taken to “consolidate ” this program.
In this sense, as of June 1, a “stable” system begins, between the SEM, the hospitals and the Department of Health, in which the entire procedure is “protocolized” to activate transfer assistance with pediatric ECMO, 24 hours a day and from any corner of Catalonia, without prejudice to continuing to provide service to other parts of Spain.
In this way, “territorial equity” is guaranteed, through a “pioneering system in the State”, highlighted the minister.