Unique use of heart-lung machine saves heart attack victim at UCLA emergency room

James Manzi is lucky to be alive. When the 79-year-old Brentwood, Calif., resident arrived at  Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center's emergency room in full cardiac arrest, the medical team tried everything to stabilize him, including shocking his heart 29 times with a defibrillator in an attempt to restore a normal rhythm.   Often, patients whose heart attacks are as severe as Manzi's don't survive. Only one out of every 10 people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital lives through the ordeal.   As the team worked, UCLA emergency medicine physician Dr. Eric Savitsky monitored Manzi's diminishing response to their resuscitative efforts using a combination of bedside ultrasound of the heart and clinical indicators. This led to an emergeny request for a rarely used but potentially lifesaving technology known as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO.   ECMO involves the use of a sophisticated pump that takes over the functions of the heart and lungs, essentially breathing for the patient by pumping oxygenated blood to vital organs so the lungs can rest. This helps reduce stress on the heart. The device is traditionally used to support adults in cardiac failure waiting for a heart transplant and to help protect the delicate respiratory systems of infants born prematurely.   Fortunately, it worked in Manzi's case too. His heart stabilized, allowing the cardiac team to transport him to the cardiac catheterization lab, where he underwent...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

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