Burjeel Medical City launches ECMO life support system for paediatric patients

The state-of-the-art life support system will be initially focused on children and neonatal respiratory failure



Published: Thu 22 Sep 2022, 3:12 PM

Burjeel Medical City (BMC) in Abu Dhabi today announced that it has launched the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) life support system for paediatric patients. ECMO is the highest form of life support currently available to patients with life threatening but reversible conditions such as respiratory failure that is unresponsive to conventional therapies like mechanical ventilation.

BMC will be among the few selected hospitals in the UAE to offer this state-of-the-art life support system for children and will initially focus on neonatal respiratory failure, as is the standard of care in advanced countries.

John Sunil, regional CEO at Burjeel Hospitals, said: “At Burjeel Medical City, we are constantly building on a solid foundation for paediatric care and continue to be the leader in bringing in new technologies and performing path-breaking procedures. Working with industry leaders and drawing on our expertise of building sustainable health systems, we are making a significant difference in the outcomes for paediatric care while creating a blueprint for healthcare standard in the UAE."

Since its efficacy was recognised during the H1N1 pandemic in 2008-09, the use of ECMO has increased exponentially throughout the world. While children with certain congenital anomalies like diaphragmatic hernia are at higher risk of needing ECMO after birth, it can also be of great benefit for patients with end stage heart or lung failure who are waiting for a transplant or implantable ventricular assist devices. Furthermore, it can enhance the chances of survival for children requiring complex open-heart surgery for congenital cardiac conditions.

Dr Kesava Ananth Ramakrishnan, consultant paediatric — critical care, said: "The ECMO life support system aims for pulmonary support which enables weaning damaging therapy such as high ventilator support, which can improve outcomes and promote survival for patients with respiratory conditions. This introduction aligns with our principles of leading in technology and innovation, putting patients first and striving to continually improve outcomes. The technology will further enhance our ability to support patients, teach best practices and collect critical data for research."

BMC is currently developing a quaternary centre for paediatric patients and has also established a fetal diagnostic and therapy service. The addition of the new system further enhances the vast repository of advanced care available for children at the centre. With the advantage of having maternity, neonatal and PICU services within a single location, BMC offers continuity of care without putting a critically ill child at risk by moving from one hospital to another.


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