For the first time in Minas, SUS performs respiratory therapy ECMO – Health

Built in the United States h
Created in the United States over 40 years ago, ECMO is indicated for adult or pediatric patients with severe pulmonary or cardiopulmonary dysfunction. (photo: ECMO Minas Disclosure)

For the first time in Minas Gerais, SUS performed intensive care known as “artificial lung”. ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation), which became known in the country after its use by actor Paulo Gustavo, was successfully applied to a 14-year-old girl who was hospitalized with a severe respiratory condition at Santa Casa de BH.

Eloisy Cristina dos Santos, 14, spent nine days under the innovative treatment, and was discharged this Wednesday (8/9). It had a solidarity network of doctors and nurses from the private network. According to Josiany Francisca da Silva, the patient’s sister, the student’s case was extremely serious, and the sister would have only a few hours to live: “Thanks to the donations of equipment and medical staff, it was possible to perform a procedure that, unfortunately, cannot be done in the SUS.”

ECMO can serve as support card
ECMO can serve as cardiac, respiratory, or cardiorespiratory support. (photo: ECMO Minas Disclosure)

Director of ECMO Minas, the company that made the procedure possible, pediatric cardiologist Marina Fantini confirms that the equipment was essential for the success of the treatment. “Without ECMO, it was a matter of hours before she died. The situation was very serious, and ECMO became the only alternative”, he confirmed.

She explains that ECMO is recommended when the lung is compromised by some disease and unable to carry out gas exchange. Temporary replacement therapy works while coping with the underlying disease. “While the patient has a lung disease and is unable to perform gas exchange, this device is used until the lung returns to vital activities.”

Treatment is not available in SUS

ECMO is not cheap. The procedure is between R$ 270 thousand and R$ 280 thousand reais per week. Ordinance No. 1.327/2021, published on June 23, by the Ministry of Health, defined that the therapy, which has been used to save critically ill patients affected by COVID-19, will not be covered by the SUS. For the National Commission for the Incorporation of Technologies of the Single Health System (Conitec), which evaluated the proposal, the therapy has very high costs and the Brazilian public health system still does not have sufficient units and infrastructure for the installation of ECMO.

To make Eloisy’s treatment feasible, professionals, companies and health institutions were involved to save the student’s life. The procedure had the help of a company that donated equipment, disposables and also medicines. ECMO Minas and its multidisciplinary team of doctors, surgeons and intensive care nurses donated the working hours of the plants.

Specialized in ECMO (Oxygen) therapy
Specialized in ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) therapy, the company was founded in Belo Horizonte by three women: the pediatric cardiologist and intensive care specialist Dr. Marina Pinheiro Rocha Fantini, the intensive care physician Dr. Ana Luiza Valle Martins and the intensive care nurse Izabela Cristina Fernandes Rodrigues. (photo: ECMO Minas Disclosure)

For Dr. Marina Fantini, the inclusion of treatment in the SUS would be essential. “It is possible to organize a team, seek support from the industry and mobilize donations. However, a socio-political and ethical organization regarding the treatment to be provided by the SUS needs to be made”, he added.

My sister’s life was a miracle, but this is a procedure that would make a lot of difference in SUS.

Josiany Francisca da Silva, sister of Eloisy Cristina dos Santos

*Internship under the supervision of sub-editor Joo Renato Faria