2 - Qatar Health 2021 Conference abstracts
  • ISSN: 1999-7086
  • EISSN: 1999-7094


Transport and retrieval of patients on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support can be hazardous to patients and healthcare workers (HCWs)1. COVID-19 is highly contagious and can be transmitted by contact, droplet, or airborne route. Transport of COVID-19 patients exposes HCWs and the public to infection risks, hence strict measures must be in place to ensure everyone's safety2. ECMO cannulation and transportation is considered an aerosol generating procedure and can pose significant risks to HCWs3. In addition, close contact with the patient in the confined space of the ambulance may put HCWs at increased risk of exposure and infection. Between March 1st and September 30th 2020, a total of 32 episodes of COVID-19 ECMO transport were undertaken by the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) and Ambulance Service. We reviewed the incidence of COVID-19 infection among HCWs involved in these missions. The transport clinical team is composed of ECMO consultant, two ECMO nurses, a perfusionist and a Critical Care Paramedic (CCP). Due to staff shortage and clinical needs, a respiratory therapist did not attend to the majority of cases. A crew of two paramedics supports the clinical team with their intensive care ambulance. The number of clinical staff involved in the COVID-19 ECMO transport during that period is shown in Table 1. The duration of clinical staff’s exposure to the infected patient in the back of the ambulance is demonstrated in Table 2. MICU staff underwent COVID-19 serology tests every 2 weeks as per local policy. None of the clinical staff involved in these transfers and retrievals of COVID-19 positive patients tested positive after 2 weeks of transport. Strict infection prevention and personal protective measures are mandatory to avoid cross-infection and were carefully adhered to during all the missions. They translated into the well-being of the clinical staff involved in the transfer and retrievals of COVID-19 positive patients.


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  2. Ramanathan K, Antognini D, Combes A, Paden M, Zakhary B, Ogino M, et al. Planning and provision of ECMO services for severe ARDS during the COVID-19 pandemic and other outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases. Lancet Respir Med. 2020; 8:(5):518–526.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Extracorporeal Life Support Organization COVID-19 Interim Guidelines. A consensus document from an international group of interdisciplinary ECMO providers. [Internet]. (Accessed 1/11/2020). Available from: https://www.elso.org/Portals/0/Files/pdf/ELSO%20covid%20guidelines%20final.pdf..

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  • Article Type: Conference Abstract
Keyword(s): COVID-19ECMOinfection controlserology testing and transport and retrieval
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