MUSC says several children used last resort treatment for COVID-19

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 5:45 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2021 at 5:46 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - With more children getting sicker with COVID-19 now compared to previous surges doctors at MUSC said they have had to place some on ECMO, a last resort treatment for both children and adults when their lungs stop working and a ventilator isn’t enough.

Dr. Allison Eckard, the Director of Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at MUSC, said when a patient uses an ECMO machine two large catheters are placed in their neck. Their blood is then taken from the body and is oxygenated in the machine. Once that process is done, the blood goes back into the body.

The doctor said MUSC has had a total of five children placed on ECMO related to COVID-19. Another two children required it with MIS-C, a post-infectious complication.

“At one point, in our PICU, we had three children on ECMO. We have never had a time where we had three children on ECMO at one time with the same diagnosis,” Eckard explained. “These are unprecedented times, and COVID, despite the fact that most children do ok, those children who are severely affected are very severely affected. Really different than anything we’ve ever seen before.”

Eckard said there is no guarantee a patient will ever come off the machine and it can even have as high as a 50% mortality rate.

As of Monday, she said there is one child on ECMO in the PICU.

Fortunately, the other kids with COVID and MIS-C have all made it off the machine.

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