Comatose British Covid-19 patient back on dialysis

By Le Nga   May 27, 2020 | 01:23 am PT
Comatose British Covid-19 patient back on dialysis
Doctors in protective gears at HCMC's Cho Ray Hospital, February 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
Vietnam's most critically ill Covid-19 patient had to undergo dialysis again Tuesday after the treatment was stopped last Saturday.

"Patient 91," a 43-year-old Vietnam Airlines pilot in HCMC, remains entirely reliant on the ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), the Health Ministry said Tuesday.

ECMO is a technique that pumps blood out of the body and to a heart-lung machine that removes carbon dioxide and sends oxygen-filled blood back.

The patient remains comatose despite having a natural breathing rhythm. His kidney functions, cough response and limb movements have not been restored. The condition of his lungs has not improved. Doctors have reduced his sedation doses and stopped using muscle relaxants on him, adding that an accurate evaluation of his senses and mobility can be made only once the drugs are out of his system.

Importantly, his pneumonia is not under control yet, with the burkholderia cenocepacia bacteria, a type of opportunistic pathogen, present in his swab samples. Dealing with the infection would be difficult considering that the patient is immunocompromised, doctors have said.

Earlier, the patient had suffered from the cytokine storm syndrome, which happened when his immune system overreacted to the novel coronavirus attacking the body, releasing too many cytokines, damaging his organs.

The Vietnam Airlines pilot was the first case in the cluster of infections in HCMC associated with the Buddha Bar & Grill, a major outbreak site in the southern metropolis. A few days after he was diagnosed, 18 others were also found infected.

After 65 days of treatment at the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases, he tested Covid-19 negative seven consecutive times and was transferred last Friday to the Cho Ray Hospital, where his treatment continues.

Vietnam has confirmed 327 Covid-19 cases so far. It discharged six more patients on Tuesday, bringing the number of active cases down to 49.

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