The quick actions of a multidisciplinary team from Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and a revolutionary technology have helped save the life of a young man who recently had a near fatal heart attack while playing basketball.
The patient, a 33-year-old-man, lost consciousness and collapsed after having a sudden cardiac arrest while playing basketball with his colleagues. His colleagues called an ambulance and began performing first aid (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
The ambulance arrived within five minutes and transferred the man to Hamad General Hospital’s Emergency Department.
Dr Ibrahim Fawzy Hassan, director, Medical Intensive Care Unit, deputy medical director, Ambulance Service, said the combination of a skilled multidisciplinary team and an innovative technology saved the patient’s life.
The technology, called ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation), was able to take over the functions of the heart and lungs, essentially breathing for the patient by pumping oxygenated blood to vital organs.
“The ECMO technology acts as the patient’s lungs and heart, ensuring they get enough oxygen by circulating their blood outside of the body. HMC is one of only a handful of health systems in this region that uses the technology, which requires specialised training to operate. This technology, coupled with the teamwork of clinicians from across HMC, was instrumental in saving the patient’s life,” said Dr Hassan.
The ECMO technology provided the time needed to stabilise the patient’s condition until he could be transferred to Heart Hospital, HMC’s specialist cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery hospital. Once at Heart Hospital, the patient underwent open heart surgery and two weeks later was discharged in good health.
Speaking at an event last week at HMC, Dr Hassan recognised the skill and quick action of the clinicians involved, stating that international research indicates that only a small proportion of patients who experience a sudden cardiac arrest outside the hospital survive. He said the poor survival rate is largely the result of delays in calling for an ambulance, not providing proper first aid, and lack of access to technology such as ECMO.
Dr Alhady Yusof, a senior consultant, Medical Intensive Care at Hamad General Hospital, said the patient’s positive outcome demonstrates the power of working together as a cohesive team to deliver comprehensive care.
HMC first began using ECMO technology four years ago. To date, around a hundred patients have benefited from the lifesaving treatment. The highly-specialised therapy requires a multidisciplinary team of specialised physicians and nurses.
Dr al-Hadi Yousef, consultant, emergency medicine, Dr Abdul Rahman El Arabi, consultant cardiologist, Dr Amr Salah, anaesthesiologist and critical care consultant, and Dr Abdul Wahed al-Mulla, consultant cardiac surgeon, were also part of the multidisciplinary team of Ambulance Service staff and clinicians from the Emergency, Anaesthesiology, and Surgery Departments at Hamad General and Heart Hospital who cared for the patient.