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 Lung-Bypass Demand Rises as Severe U.K. Swine Flu Cases Clim 
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Post Lung-Bypass Demand Rises as Severe U.K. Swine Flu Cases Clim
UK Bloomberg

Lung-Bypass Demand Rises as Severe U.K. Swine Flu Cases Climb

By Jason Gale
Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Swine flu patients whose damaged lungs have left them unable to breathe are driving demand in the U.K. for a lung-bypass technique seldom used on influenza cases.

Nine people, five of whom are still being treated, have received the procedure known as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ECMO at Glenfield Hospital, mostly as a result of complications following infection with the new H1N1 influenza strain
, said Giles Peek, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the University Hospitals of Leicester, England.

Glenfield is Europe’s largest ECMO center. It received permission to double ECMO capacity to 10 patients earlier this month in preparation for the flu pandemic, said Helen Heald, a hospital spokeswoman. New H1N1 cases in England almost doubled last week to 53,000 from 27,000 the previous week, health officials said on Oct. 22.

“This H1N1 is quite a specific disease in that it seems to cause much worse primary viral pneumonia than most of the viral pneumonias that I have treated,” Giles said in a telephone interview today. “It’s mostly people between the age of about 18 and early 40s, and the main risk factors are pregnancy, recent delivery or obesity.”

Intensive care specialists in Australia and New Zealand, where swine flu cases peaked in July and August, ordered ECMO systems from companies including Maquet Cardiopulmonary AG, a subsidiary of Sweden’s Getinge AB, and Minneapolis-based Medtronic Inc. to meet additional pandemic-driven demand. At the peak, 23 patients across both countries were on ECMO on three consecutive days in early August.

ECMO allows the lungs to recover while an artificial lung, connected to veins in the groin, takes over blood-gas exchange. The units cost as much as 60,000 euros ($89,000) each, Josef Bogenschuetz, Maquet’s chief executive officer, said in an interview in July.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jason Gale in Singapore at

Last Updated: October 27, 2009 07:22 EDT ... 6EJuiFup9o

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Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:56 pm
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