Recommended Sponsor - Buy Original Artwork Directly from the Artist

Source: Waikato District Health Board

A new Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine was gifted to the Waikato Hospital on Thursday 20 April by The Heart Trust.

The ECMO machine is similar to a cardiopulmonary bypass machine which “takes over” for a patient’s heart and lungs, adding oxygen to blood before pumping it back. It is used during some heart and lung surgeries or to assist recovery from heart or lung damage by allowing those organs to rest. The arrival of COVID-19 has increased the use of cardiopulmonary bypass machines outside of the operating theatre.

The new machine is simpler and easier to operate than the bypass machines currently in use. It is also smaller and more portable, enabling its use during patient transport to other hospitals to access specialised care, such as Auckland City Hospital’s Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit, potentially saving lives in critical situations.

“ECMO technology has expanded treatment options for a group of people who are critically unwell,” says Michelle Sutherland, Interim Lead Hospital and Specialist Services.

“The simpler operation of this machine makes it more comfortable for use in intensive care settings with perfusion specialists’ help. We are grateful to have the ongoing support of the Heart Trust and thank them for their very generous donation.”

The Heart Trust is an incorporated charitable trust dedicated to improving the quality of life of heart patients in the Midland region. It has worked with Waikato Hospital for more than 50 years.

The trust successfully fundraised for the $120,000 ECMO device across a number of events, including a concert featuring Dr Madhav Menon, a cardiologist at Waikato Hospital, who sang accompanied by his talented daughters performing on the violin and cello.

Dr Clyde Wade, a former Waikato Hospital Cardiologist and current Heart Trust trustee, said “The Heart Trust was my secret weapon back in the day” as he had worked with the Trust and Waikato Hospital on numerous occasions to obtain equipment which helped deliver world-class cardiology care.