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Most commonly known as a military neck a straight or forward curve of the neck is abnormal and may cause an unkind progression of symptoms leading ultimately to cervical disk degeneration.
Reversal of cervical lordosis explained
The anatomy of the neck features a lordotic curvature in its typical and healthy state. This means that the cervical region has a gentle curvature with the open end of that curve facing the rear of the body. The base and top of the curve will be further posterior than the mid point, which will be further anterior.
When the lordosis is straightened, the neck becomes more upright and linear. This is more common than the next progression of atypical curvature, which is the subject of this article.
Actual reversal of curvature means that part or all of the cervical spine develops a kyphotic profile, with the open end of the curve facing anteriorly. Usually, this reversal is extremely mild, but is still very abnormal. What we now see is the middle of the curve being positioned posterior to the top and bottom.
In essence, picture the letter c and now turn it backwards: This is the shape of a reversed cervical lordosis.
Reversal of cervical lordosis causes
The spinal curvature in the neck is constantly in flux to some degree.
Congenital conditions and developmental conditions can have lasting effects on the natural degree of curvature typically demonstrated from patient to patient. These circumstances may be explainable due to injury or degeneration, or may be idiopathic:
Scoliosis can affect the normal lordotic curvature in the neck.
Cervical spondylolisthesis is a major source of reversed lordotic curvature.
Severe disc pathologies can facilitate a gradual loss or reversal of cervical lordosis.
Vertebral irregularities, such as wedging, can definitely contribute to lordotic alteration.
Traumatic injury, including vertebral fracture, can create the ideal circumstances for a reversal of lordosis to take place.
Severe neck muscle spasms can actually reshape the spinal curves, although these are usually temporary expressions and not actual structural conditions.
Effects of reversal of cervical lordosis
The neck is designed to curve in order to balance the spine, absorb stress, distribute force and provide proper movement of the head. When this curvature is diminished or reversed, symptoms may result, although this is not an inherent part of any altered lordotic condition.
Patients may experience stiffness and tension in the neck. Pain may be present and may even be severe in rare cases. Neurological dysfunction is possible in extreme cases, since the neuroforamen might not align properly, thereby causing a cervical pinched nerve.
In the worst circumstances, central spinal stenosis in the neck might affect the viability of the spinal cord, possible enacting the most dire of symptoms throughout the body.
Patients will also be more prone to injury, since the normal shock absorption qualities of the typical curvature have been lost.
While all these effects are certainly possible, they are not usual. In fact, a great majority of patients have minor symptoms or even no symptoms at all from mild reversed lordotic curvatures.
The pathology leading to a neck curve reversal (cervical kyphosis shown below right) may be inspired by a multitude of conditions as follows:
Post head injury
Poor sitting/working postures
Congenital spinal curvatures
Degenerative cervical discs (a form of osteoarthritis that can either be the cause of or the result of a cervical kyphosis)
Compression fracture of vertebral body
Infection of the cervical spine
Anatomy: straight vs. Curved
I've always heard that it was good to stand up straight.
stand upright, stick your chest out and hold your shoulders back! otherwise you're going get widows hump.
Are these expressions as familiar to you as they are to me? one might think that having a curved neck goes against what we heard from parents and teachers as we were growing up, but the reality is that there is a little bit a truth in both. Maintaining good posture throughout our lives is crucial to both the health of our spine and vital organs. On the contrary, a special type of curve called a lordosis is a good thing, both in the neck and lower back.
When we look at a person from the back their spine should be truly straight, so that the left and right sides of one's body is symmetrical. However, when we view a person from the side, the front and back of their body is different and this is reflected in a coinciding curvature of the spine. Both the lower back and neck are hollowed out (concave) and the mid or thoracic spine is protrudes (convex). Thus there is an alternation of curves functioning to provide stability, shock absorption and aid in propulsion. A straight spine would be very stiff and not flexible. Imagine the plight of a pole vaulter with an inflexible pole.
Nature's design of our spine and rib cage facilitates breathing and offers protective and supportive framework for vital organs. Spinal disks are shock absorbers and because they are in the front of the spine, lordotic curvatures keep them from having to bear weight. Kyphosis or loss of such curvatures bears weight upon the disks, leading to their ultimate degeneration. This process of deterioration is a form of osteoarthritis and in the spine is known as degenerative spondylosis.
Although most physiotherapists or conservative orthopedists can recognize a cervical curve reversal upon viewing the patient's posture, a definitive diagnosis may be obtained via a standing lateral (side view) x-ray of the neck. Cause can often be determined by corroborating a comprehensive history, a thorough examination, x-rays and questions about sleep, work and lifestyle.
In my professional career I found that the majority of young adults presenting with cervical kyphosis either had a whiplash or were stomach sleepers from an early age. For desk jockeys 40-60 years of age, many hours of sitting with their head flexed forward almost dictates the fate of developing kyphosis. In prior years I considered cervical kyphosis a job hazard for the careers of accountants, attorneys and often teachers because of years spent with their head in a book or paperwork. However, the digital age offers some relief in that respect. A well-planned, ergonomically-friendly office can do wonders for protecting the spine in the sedentary worker.
Treatment for cervical curve reversal (kyphosis)
During my chiropractic practice I had the opportunity to note a good percentage of correction toward a more normal lordosis (noted on x-ray) for 70% of patients under my care. This was almost always consistent with those patients that followed all recommendations and were model participants in their own care. Here is the recommended treat plan:
Spinal manipulation of stiff and fixated spinal segments by a qualified physio
Flexibility exercises for flexion and extension of cervical spine
Resistance exercises for flexors and extensors of the neck
Learn the Alexander technique for maintaining good posture (hint: the basic philosophy is to sit and stand like you were hanging by a string from the vertex of your skull. Liken it to a puppet on a string).
Elimination of stomach sleeping
Avoid standing on your head, although some yoga postures may be beneficial
Use of orthopedic neck pillow while sleeping.
I have got pain in my leg from two years. The MRI shows this diffuse posture lateral iv disc at L4-L5 level causing anterior epidural space and lateral recess narrowing with mild thecal sac indentation and abutting transversing nerve fibres and existing neural foramen stenosis.(2) subtle L3 -L4 diffuse posture lateral iv disc bulge causing anterior epidural space and lateral recess effacement. What is the treatment of it .is surgery necessary for it.
Brain injury can happen as a result of trauma, infection or degeneration with old age. Whatever be the reason, injury on the head can result into brain dysfunction and should be given required medical diagnosis. In these cases, occupational therapy can be a major help.
It helps in improving health, providing rehabilitation and educational service to enable people to participate in things they are interested in and manage their daily activities. Occupational therapy can be used to manage issues relating to memory, organization and attention span, behavior and emotion control, safety issues and issues which contribute to society. Depending on expectations, different therapies can be sought. Read on to know a little more about how occupational therapy can help adults with brain injury.
- The person's skills and what they want to do are to be assessed and accordingly a daily plan that can be easily followed is made. Where possible, use technology like smart phone or voice recorder to manage this plan. The therapist can train the person to use these tools, review progress and make changes as necessary.
- The therapist will also teach ways to do things on their own like cooking and small shopping, so they become independent and are therefore less frustrated.
- Patients in need of anger management, the therapist will help them to identify what induces anger or frustration and support in managing those before it turns into actual anger. This will help the person relax and be more positive.
- This could also be done using small roleplays, wherein they are taught ways to respond and be more relaxed and calm.
- If you are keen on participating in social events or volunteering opportunities, then the therapist can recommend options for you based on your areas of interest. The therapist can also work with the identified organization (school, NGO, or workplace) to inform them of the kind of support required by you. Work behavior and social behavior can be taught to help the affected person succeed.
- If the affected person happens to be alone, then they need to be assessed for ability to judge (e.g., self-awareness, impulsivity, and reliability), even while doing daily activities like bathing and dressing. Driving is permissible only if cleared for it by the therapist.
- The home needs to be assessed for safety. You may have to make some safety modifications, for instance replace power tools with hand tools. Else, shared housing options, where independence and having someone close by is possible, should be evaluated.
So, with a brain injury, not all is lost. Occupational Therapy can definitely help restore function to a large extent, so use it to reap maximum benefits. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can ask a free question.
My dad had arteries blockage which TVD (triple vessel disease) all 3 arteries are blocked 2 major and one minor doctors are suggesting for by pass surgery however I am afraid of that is there any treatment or cure for this? So that he be well soon.
I have diagnosed with infiltrating ductal carcinoma, NOS, in right breast (in biopsy report. Please suggest me what is my treatment option.
I am 22 year running. I am suffering from slip disc problem since last 1 & half year. My pain is increasing day by day. Its start with lower back and now its come in my left leg. I am done many things for it but still I am suffering for with this. What can I do I cant understood.
The pain which a person experiences as a result of having a herniated disc can be quite debilitating, to tell you the truth. However, taking into due account the fact that all a person in such a situation would want would be to be up and running as soon as possible.
In order for this to happen, as would be expected, he or she would need to go through the options which are available for treatment of a herniated disc. There are various types of herniated disc treatments which are available though it can be said that conservative treatments are preferred as these treatments do not require surgery to be carried out on the person who is suffering from the issue.
The course of this sort of treatment lasts somewhere between one month to one and a half months. The aim of conservative treatment is to reduce or minimise the pain that is automatically associated with a herniated disc. There is a strategy to help a person improve by which he or she is provided with medicine for the purpose of pain relief while physiotherapy is made use of to make the underlying condition better.
Surgical treatment may be required, if the case is such that the person has lost a great degree of function and is in pain that seems to be pretty much unbearable. `If the person has a lumbar herniated disc, then the conservative treatment for this sort of case would require him or her to apply ice and heat from a warm source to provide relief to the area. If the pain is very bad yet the person is determined not to undergo surgery then the answer would be to consume some oral steroids or narcotic pain medications. One should surely keep in mind that this is only to carried out as per the prescription of a doctor who is trained and experienced to a sufficient degree.
If surgery is required for this sort of herniated disc, then it is likely to be a lumbar decompression surgery which aims to allow for the growth of the spine back to health as a result of removing the herniated disc. When it comes to cervical herniated disc treatment, conservative solutions include using drugs like ibuprofen and physical therapy; similar to solving lumbar herniated discs. However, surgical treatment for cervical herniated discs warrants anterior cervical decompression; where the disc is removed from the front of the neck. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Physiotherapist.
Uterine cancer, also known as endometrial cancer, occurs mostly to middle aged women. The uterus of a woman is a muscular organ. The cancer can affect any part of the uterus and is more common in women having obesity, diabetes and hypertension. In most cases, the cancer starts in the endometrium, hence called endometrial cancer. Uterine cancer can be cured using any of the following methods:
1. Surgical removal of the uterus along with ovaries, lymph nodes and fallopian tubes
2. Radiation therapy
Although uterine cancer is curable, it's always a better option to prevent it. You cannot control all the causes for uterine cancer like those related to heredity. But other than that, here are a few ways in which you can prevent suffering from uterine cancer:
1. Control body weight: Keep your body weight in control. Obesity can pose a huge risk of getting affected with uterine cancer. The fat in the body produces estrogen, which promotes the growth of uterine lining that is the Endometrium and may lead to Endometrium cancer.
2. Breast feed: If you are lactating, then the risk of the cancer decreases, as breast feeding decreases ovulation as well as estrogen activities.
3. Treat abnormal bleeding: If you are suffering from any type of abnormal bleeding, be that heavy periods, bleeding even after you reached menopause or if you start bleeding between two period cycles, consult your doctor immediately. Abnormal bleeding is the symptom of endometrial hyperplasia, which might eventually turn cancerous.
4. Exercise: As already said earlier, keep your weight under control to avoid uterine cancer. Exercise to avoid increase in weight leading to obesity. It also reduces the estrogen level in your body.
5. Healthy food: Healthy food is the key to avoid any disease, be that a common cold or uterine cancer. Eat a healthy and balanced diet everyday to be fit and bouncing.
6. Birth control pills: It is believed that the intake of birth control pills helps to keep uterine cancer at bay.
So eat healthy, exercise and adopt healthy habits. Then nothing can stop you from enjoying life to the fullest. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.
Cerebral ischaemia or brain ischemia is a medical condition that restricts the flow of blood to the brain, resulting in an unmet metabolic demand. This leads to limited oxygen supply in the brain, which could result in death of brain tissues, cerebral infarction or an ischemic stroke. Thus, a cardiorespiratory arrest, a stroke, and irreversible brain damage are few possible consequences of cerebral ischaemia.
People with compressed blood vessels, low blood pressure, congenital heart defects or sickle cell anaemia have a high risk of developing cerebral ischaemia, since compressed blood vessels or very low pressure can lead to restricted blood flow. Also, sickle-shaped cells have a greater tendency to clot, causing obstructed blood flow.
Patients with cerebral ischaemia experience a host of symptoms, such as weakness in the body, problems in coordination and movement, vision and speech impairment and unconsciousness.
Cerebral congestion, on the other hand, refers to excessive quantity of blood in the brain vessels, causing pressure on the cerebral substance. Cerebral congestion is of two types. It is termed as active when there is too much arterial blood flow and passive when there is undue quantity of venous blood in the veins of the brain. Both conditions cause symptoms, such as severe headache, insomnia, irritability and unconsciousness. The patient gets little sleep and is disturbed, often followed by dreams. When awake, the patient’s mental activity in the brain is very high.
Homeopathy is now a well-established school of medicine backed with years of research and practice. Gone are the days when homeopathy was considered no more than an extension of herbal home remedies. Homeopathic laboratories around the world produce large number of medicines covering almost all ailments. The benefits of homeopathic treatment are now well established due to its holistic approach and minimal side effects. Homeopathy is undoubtedly a ray of hope for patients with cerebral ischaemia and cerebral congestion, as it delivers a comprehensive treatment plan designed to target the signs and symptoms of the disease and address its non-occurrence.
The medications deal with mild to severe symptoms, including inflammation of the brain, headache, vomiting, insomnia, stroke/convulsions and seizures. The stramonium drug, for example, deals with seizures. Belladonna is an effective remedy for sharp shooting headaches, a common symptom of cerebral congestion. Ferrum is believed to be a valuable remedy for brain ischaemia. Few drugs deal with the symptoms of both ischaemia and congestion—nux is a suitable drug for the treatment of ischaemia as well as for passive cerebral congestion. Similarly, phosphorus can be used to treat brain ischaemia and congestion. Zincum metallicum is a highly recommended drug for chronic cases of ischaemia.
The treatment is comprehensive and long term and shows substantive results. Regular follow-ups and consultation with a homeopath specialist is the key to an effective treatment.
We have more than 200 bones in our body and each of them is susceptible to bone cancer. However, long bones in the arms and legs are most susceptible to this condition. Bone cancer can be primary or secondary. Primary bone cancer involves uncontrolled and abnormal cell division within the bones while secondary bone cancer refers to cancer that originated somewhere else in the body and later spread to the bones. While children and adults are equally at risk for primary bone cancer, adults and elderly people are more susceptible to secondary bone cancer. If diagnosed early enough, bone cancer can be treated and even cured with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.
Hence it is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of bone cancer. Here’s what you should look out for.
- Pain in Bones: Pain is one the primary symptoms of bone cancer. As the tumour grows larger, this pain can become more intense. In its early stages, the pain may be experienced as a dull ache inside the bone or the affected part of the body. It may also increase or decrease according to your activity level or may be experienced only at night. However, not all bone pains signify ‘cancer’ as this is also a symptom associated with osteoporosis.
- Swelling: In some cases, the abnormal growth of bone cells can result in the formation of a lump of mass that may be felt through the skin. In other cases, the affected area may also show signs of swelling.
- Breaking of the Bone: Cancer can weaken the bones and make them more brittle. This may make the bones more susceptible to fractures. A bone breaking in an area that has been painful or sore for a long period of time may be a sign of cancer. This is known as a pathologic fracture.
- Reduced Flexibility: If the tumour is located near a joint, it may affect the range of movements possible and make simple actions uncomfortable. For example, a tumour around the knee may make walking and climbing stairs a painful exercise.
Other symptoms to look out for are sudden and drastic weight loss, tiredness, excessive sweating at night, fever and difficulty breathing in case cancer has spread to other organs. Since many of these symptoms are common to other medical disorders, you should consult a doctor immediately if you notice any of them. A physical examination and a couple of tests along with a biopsy will be required to confirm a diagnosis of bone cancer.
She has a desk job and feeling pain in right leg the mri shows reduced space in intervertebral disc.
If you are suffering from breast cancer, it is recommended that you undertake Ayurvedic measures for an effective and natural treatment. Breast cancer is a form of cancer that occurs in the cells of your breasts. The breast cells undergo abnormal growth and go out of control. This form of cancer is likely to occur in both women and men, although it is most common in women. A lot of breast cancer cases start from the ducts or lobes, while others start from the cellular lining of your milk ducts.
According to the principles of Ayurveda, your body is based on the tridoshas, which include vata, pitta, and kapha.
- An imbalance in these doshas can lead to diseases and disruption in your health. Cancer occurs when an imbalance of all the three doshas is experienced.
- An improper diet and lifestyle account for being the primary reason for this imbalance in doshas, leading to breast cancer.
- Your digestive fire is also affected, which leads to the accumulation of toxins, thereby blocking all the channels of your body.
- All these factors are collectively responsible for the development of breast cancer.
- Ayurvedic treatment for breast cancer is very effective because of its natural approach.
- Without the use of any chemicals and radiation, you get efficient management by using Ayurvedic remedies for breast cancer.
- Your body functioning is enhanced without the concern of any negative effect on your health.
- Several Ayurvedic herbs are used for breast cancer treatment. These herbs help in controlling the abnormal growth of breast cells, and in the later stages of breast cancer, these also help in reducing pain.
The herbs play an important role in preventing the condition from spreading to other organs.
- This powerful Ayurvedic herb contains natural rejuvenating properties for your body.
- It also helps in eliminating stress, weakness and fatigue, which are associated with breast cancer.
- This effective Ayurvedic herb contains several medicinal properties.
- It is an antioxidant and helps in reducing free radicals from your body. This is beneficial for an improved health and immunity.
- The herb is capable of dealing with toxins and infections, and is super effective in treating malignant cancers.
- This is an Ayurvedic product, which is obtained by mixing several herbs such as amalaki, haritaki, ginger, kachnar bark and a lot more.
- This is effective in maintaining healthy tissues and cells. It also stops the abnormal growth of cancerous cells.
It is important for you to visit a licensed and experienced Ayurvedic practitioner for getting the best Ayurvedic remedies for breast cancer treatment. This will ensure that you get the most effective remedies, based on your condition.
Breast cancer is a medical condition that refers to the uncontrolled growth of cells in the breast. These cells can be like small tumours or lumps. The tumour can be malignant if it is found that the cells are growing into surrounding tissues or are spreading. It occurs mostly in women.
Breast cancers can originate from any part of the breast. Most of these cancerous growths start in the milk-carrying ducts. There are also cancerous growths in the glands that produce milk. These are known as lobular cancers. In rare cases, cancer may also start from the breast tissues. These are known as sarcomas and lymphomas.
Here are some of the ways to get prevented from the possibility of developing breast cancer:
- Check your weight: It is important that you maintain a healthy weight. You don’t need do follow the hard and fast dieting charts or starve. But eat a balanced diet and exercise a bit to maintain a stable and healthy weight throughout. Being obese or overweight increases the chance of developing breast cancer.
- Be Active: A sedentary lifestyle devoid of activities is something that invites diseases. It has been found that women who are physically active and exercise for at least 30 minutes a day are at a low risk of developing breast cancer.
- Don’t avoid fruits and vegetables: It is important for you to have a balanced diet. Include lots of leafy vegetables and fruits in your diet to avoid the possibility of developing any form of cancer. Don’t drink excessive alcohol on regular basis. Remember a healthy diet is a key to a healthy life.
- Don’t Smoke: Smoking increases the chance of developing heart diseases, stroke and 15 types of cancers. It also increases the risk for breast cancer.
- Breastfeed your baby: It is mandatory for good health that you breastfeed your baby. Exclusive breastfeeding is best for the health of your baby as well as yours. It lowers the chances of developing breast cancer.
- Avoid Birth Control Pills: These pills have side-effects. They increase the risk of developing breast cancer. It also increases the chances of developing heart diseases and ovarian cancer.
- Avoid Post-Menopausal Hormones: Post-menopausal hormones have an adverse effect on the health. They increase the risk of some diseases while lowering the effects of other ones. It should be taken for a shorter period and its prolonged use must be avoided. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.
My husband hs cirrhosis of liver stomach very distended+an ugly umbilical hernia+very dry skin+rash on legs +occasionally loose motions+disinterested in everything+lathargy+very weak+no energy+ frequent urination at nite with the result doesnt sleep well at nite. Medications urimax, lasilactone, lasix, heptapro. Are all these symptoms related to the cirrhosis. Latest sonography report shows right lobe of liver is contracted n left lobe is enlarged with coarse bright echogencity with nodular surface. Intraheatic biliary radicles normal. Cbd normal. Portal vein is patent. Gallbladder is distended with no calculi or polyps spleen is borderline enlarged. Free fluid is noted approximately 200cc impression cirrhosis of liver borderline splenomeagly. Cortical calcific speck in both kidney s free fluid 200cc can you tell how serious is this condition his sodium is low 126.
I am a 25 years old male, I have been suffering from bulging disk at l5-s1. I have been resting for 2 months, now my neck has started paining too and left pelvic joint is making popping sound everytime it is bend. So I got my blood acid checked. And its been 8 for last two months, I have been drinking like 6 lts water everyday. Is uric acid main reason of pain? And how can I get it down as I don't want to start the medicine so early in life and drinking water is not working. Please suggest, my career is suffering a lot.
A uterine cyst, also called as ovarian cyst, is the formation of a fluid-filled sac within the ovary of a woman. Uterine cysts may sometimes cause several physical symptoms. They can cause great pain and unpleasant sensations. Most cysts go away by themselves, but still sufficient measures should be taken to deal with the inconvenience caused by a uterine cyst. In severe cases, the cyst can damage the ovaries. Scar tissue is also likely to build up in such cysts to form an adhesion, which causes discomfort.
Uterine cysts can cause great damage to the sexual organs of a woman, and hence, it should never be ignored. Here are 5 ways to deal with uterine cysts:
Using Birth Control Pills: In case of recurrent uterine cysts, you can take oral contraceptives with the prescription of a doctor. This will prohibit ovulation, and the development of new cysts will be prevented. The risk of ovarian cancer is also reduced.
Laparoscopy: In case the cyst is small, a laparoscopy surgery can be conducted by a doctor. This will enable the surgical removal of the cyst. The process of laparoscopy involves making of a small incision around the navel region. A small instrument or device is inserted into the abdomen, which removes the cyst.
Laparotomy: Laparotomy is a surgical procedure of removing a large uterine cyst. This procedure is applied when a cyst becomes too large to be removed using laparoscopy. The procedure involves the removal of the cyst via an incision made in the abdomen. An immediate biopsy is conducted and in case the cyst is found out to be cancerous, a hysterectomy surgery is conducted, which removes the ovaries and uterus completely.
Herbal Tea: Moving from medical procedures to natural ways for dealing with uterine cysts, herbal tea is believed to be one of the best natural treatments for uterine cysts. Herbal tea helps in the breakdown of large cysts and the side effects of the cysts such as discomfort or pain are eased. Have a cup of herbal tea every day to get rid of uterine cysts.
Diet: Uterine cysts may develop due to an unhealthy diet. Modern food items contain synthetic and natural estrogens, which cause disruption in ovarian health. Consuming adulterated meat, where the animals are given hormones, and antibiotics may result in uterine cysts. Soy contains a great amount of estrogen, which leads to uterine cysts. All the food items which may lead to ovarian cysts should be avoided.
Uterine cysts are common in women and are caused due to several complications. You should not let uterine cysts develop as development increases severity.
Sir I am 62 l have got disc prolapse of my spine spine. Backpain- radiated toy right leg causing severe pain please give remedy.
Dear sir, I am 33 year old. I have back ache since 2010 mri also have been done it shown herniated slip disk and doctor has advised me surgery. But I am not willing to get surgery please advise me what should I do.
Annular tear with right paracentral, foramina extrusion of L1-S1 intervertebral disc causing significant compression of the traversing right S1 nerve root Kindly suggest treatment and Medicines.
What is ECMO?
Like dialysis for unfunctional kidney, Ecmo for unfunctional lung.
Ecmo stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. It is a method of giving oxygen for the body when icu pateint lungs and/or heart are not able to supply oxygen on their own.
Why ICU pateint put on ECMO?
Doctors place ICU patients on ECMO when patients are not able to supply oxygen to the body.
ICU patients’ lungs fail for a number of reasons including pneumonia, lung cancer, pulmonary edema, pulmonary embolism and COPD.
When a patient’s lungs fail, he/she first is intubated (breathing tube) and hooked up to a ventilator (breathing machine).
However, sometimes lungs are so damaged that providing oxygen through intubation is not enough.
This is when doctors turn to v-v ecmo.
A heart can fail for many reasons including heart attack, pulmonary embolism, bad valve disease, or worsening heart failure. When a heart fails, doctors try to fix the underlying problem. They may also start medications (called ionotropes) to help improve the pump function of the heart. If medications are not enough, doctors will turn to v-a ecmo.
How long can someone stay on ecmo?
That is a complicated question. Due to the risks of ecmo discussed above, doctors try to keep patients on ecmo for as short a time as possible. Often patient will be on ecmo for several days up to 1-2 weeks. Every day, several blood and imaging tests are done to determine if a patient is ready to come off ecmo. As the technology of ecmo improves, hopefully side effects will decrease and patients can remain on ecmo for longer periods of time.
What is the difference between ecmo and a ventilator (breathing machine)?
Both ecmo and a ventilator aim to provide oxygen to the body when the patient’s own lungs and breathing are failing. The ventilator assists the patient’s own lungs by pushing oxygen with pressure into the lungs. Ecmo instead provides oxygen directly via a catheter placed in a patient’s vein or artery. We almost always try oxygenating a patient with a ventilator first. However, when a patient’s lungs are too sick for this, we turn to ecmo to assist in providing oxygen to the body. V-v ecmo provides oxygen through a vein. This blood then has to travel to the heart and be pumped around the rest of the body through arteries. Therefore, with v-v ecmo or with a ventilator, a patient must have a well-functioning heart to get the oxygen pumped throughout the body. V-a ecmo has the additional advantage of pumping blood directly to arteries. This “by-passes” the heart and is therefore the method of ecmo we use when a patient’s heart is failing.