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Green Country Physician Treating COVID Patients with ECMO

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Tulsa, Oklahoma — Celebrating National Doctor’s Day, Green Country has some of the best doctors in the country.

When it comes to the best treatments, the Oklahoma Heart Institute has become known for life support by offering machines that are only used at three centers in the state.

“That’s why it’s pretty rare,” said Dr. Adam Betts, director of lung ECMO at the Oklahoma Heart Institute.

Its unusual is a machine that gives hope to COVID-19 patients. However, during the heyday of the pandemic, the waiting list is growing as Oklahoma fighting the coronavirus turned to technology to increase their chances of survival.

January was particularly difficult for doctors like Dr. Betts.

“When I checked in to that waiting list every day, I found the number of people who didn’t survive the night while waiting for the spot,” Dr. Betts said.

These patients were waiting for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), which was offered only at three centers throughout the state. One of them is in Tulsa, Oklahoma Heart Institute.

“It was a very disappointing time to do that because what you wanted to do was to provide it to everyone, but literally there was no machine and resources available to do it. “Dr. Betts said.

The machine acts as an artificial heart, lungs, or both.

“You can overcome situations that normally do not survive and rest on an ECMO machine, which will restore either your heart or your lungs.”

Pandemic clues and laboratories said the majority of ECMO patients were COVID-related.

“Last year there were 88 cases, of which just over 50 were COVIDs,” said Dr. Betts.

The chances of survival for patients with ECMO are believed to increase dramatically.

“Think about COVID to move on to ECMO. You have a very ill patient and your chances of survival are estimated to be less than 10 percent,” Dr. Betts explained.

Health experts believe that ECMO can increase a patient’s chances of survival by 50 to 70 percent.

Data show that people treated for the flu are less likely to have a severe disability after 6 months. The effects of COVID patients are still under investigation, but are promising.

“We performed the first COVIDE CMO in the state of our facility, and then we actually had a second … the patient went to the ECMO for COVID across the country and then went to the hospital. I’m the second person to leave, “Dr. Betts said.

The institute is working as a team to create building blocks for the future of COVID patients and subsequent ECMO treatment.

As the number of COVID patients declined, doctors said that this potentially life-saving treatment waiting list no longer exists.


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