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India’s youngest baby on ECMO support recovers from rare lung disease at Bhubaneswar hospital

A 22-month-old girl from Dhenkanal, who was suffering from Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis (PAP), a rare disease in the lungs, received successful treatment and was discharged on Saturday. Doctors from AIIMS Bhubaneswar successfully carried out the medical procedure and treated the child.

As per a report in The New Indian Express,  the 22 months old girl from Dhenkanal was diagnosed with COVID-19 along with other family members in June 2021 and recovered. In July, she developed a fever with breathing difficulty following which she was admitted to several hospitals of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. Unfortunately, her condition did not improve. Therefore, she was referred to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) of AIIMS Bhubaneswar.

The little girl was shifted to the paediatric ICU with a high oxygen requirement. After thorough check up, she was suspected to be suffering from PAP, in which protein gets accumulated in both the lungs. In such cases, the only treatment option reportedly available is cleaning of both lungs with saline. Thus, AIIMS authorities formed an expert team of doctors to perform the procedure. 

The team hence put the child on ECMO support to carry out the whole lung lavage (lung washing) procedure. Speaking to the leading daily, a treating doctor said, “We conducted a bronchoscopy on the girl on August 30 and cleaned the protein deposited on her lungs. As the procedure was complicated, it took the whole day to finish.” The doctor further added, “We decided to carry out the same procedure once again on September 13 and this made her condition further better. She has been discharged with minimal oxygen requirement. She has recovered and is fine now.” 

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