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Samsung Medical Center, ”ICU in the sky,” keeping lives of patients

June 23, 2020

It is shown that a movable ICU that Samsung Medical Center has been operating, has treatment environment whose quality is equivalent to that of a hospital ICU.

The research team of Prof. Yang Hyun Cho of Division of Cardiovascular surgery in Samsung Medical Center found it out by analyzing patients who were transported through the Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) or ambulances of Samsung Medical Center while receiving the Extra Corporeal Life Support (ECLS) between Jan. 2014 and Aug. 2016.

The ECLS is a device that replaces the cardiopulmonary functions of a patient, and literally, the life of the patient depends on this device. In this case, the patient needs to be transferred to a higher hospital that has more experienced medical staff and better facility.

Samsung Medical Center has transferred 46 patients with the ECLS (30 of them were transferred through the HEMS) from other medical centers. The total travel distance was about 10,000 km, and the total travel time was about 60 hours.

The research team compared and analyzed two groups out of 148 inpatients who were receiving the ECLS in the hospital ICUs and 44 transfer patients who met certain conditions such as age, sex, medical history, etc.

As the result, the survival discharge rate, which is the important factor to determine the successful treatment for patients with the ECLS, did not show a statistically significant difference between the preexisting patient group (64.2%) and transfer patient group (63.6%). However, because of adverse effects caused by the ECLS, complications such as lower limb ischemia, amputation caused by the ischemia, and acute kidney injury occurred more frequently in the transfer group.

This study was published in the latest issue of “European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery.”


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