11-month-old baby recovers after ECMO treatment

Writer: Zhang Yang  |  Editor: Jane Chen  |  From:   |  Updated: 2017-09-12

Zhang Yang


AN 11-month-old baby who had almost died of lung failure was saved by doctors at Shenzhen Children’s Hospital after she received Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) treatment last month, according to the hospital.

The baby, identified as Mei, was a preemie who was born at a gestational age of 28 weeks. Mei only weighed 800 grams when she was born. She was hospitalized for 93 days before being discharged in a healthy state.

Two months ago, Mei developed a fever and her condition hadn’t improved after receiving an intravenous drip at a hospital near her home. She was then brought to Shenzhen Children’s Hospital for treatment and was transferred to PICU on July 31.

“The 11-month-old baby only weighed 5.5 kilograms, which is the weight of a normal 2-month-old baby,” said Yang Weiguo, director of the hospital’s PICU department. He said the baby’s lungs were barely functional at the time, and she could have died of multiple organ failure had her condition continued to worsen.

Doctors at the hospital worked together with a team of doctors from Zhongshan People’s Hospital to give ECMO treatment to Mei.

ECMO is an extracorporeal technique to provide both cardiac and respiratory support to patients whose heart and lungs are unable to provide an adequate amount of gas exchange to sustain life.

Mei’s life was sustained by ECMO for nine days between Aug. 5 and Aug. 14, which provided the doctors with enough time to cure her lung infections. Currently, the baby can breathe without the aid of a breathing machine and her lung function is recovering well. She will soon be discharged from the hospital.

Mei’s father said he was grateful to the medical workers for the efforts they made to save his daughter.