Friday, February 15, 2013

ECMO patient on road to recovery


Keith Lordan considers every day to be a gift. On Aug. 6, 2011, the 59-year-old from Melrose suffered a heart attack at a local pub in Boston during a birthday celebration with his family. Thankfully, his brother Bill quickly jumped into action and performed CPR, but after Lordan arrived at the MGH following 45 minutes of resuscitation, his condition was grim. 

Joshua Baker, MD, a surgeon in the MGH Corrigan Minehan Heart Center, placed Lordan on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) – a technique that oxygenates and removes carbon dioxide from the blood outside a patient’s body – to allow his damaged heart and lungs time to recover. The Corrigan Minehan Heart Center is well-known for using ECMO, and the MGH is the only hospital in New England that accepts referrals from other hospitals for long-term care.

“Nobody ever quit on me,” says Lordan. “ECMO was the difference between life and death.”

The ECMO treatment allowed Lordan to regain enough strength to undergo quadruple bypass surgery. Now, almost a year and half after his near death experience, Lordan is happy to report he is back to work as a driver training instructor for the United States Postal Service and he also is getting back into shape, most recently joining a walk-to-run club in his hometown.

“I can’t run fast, but that doesn’t matter,” he says. “It’s about finishing the race.”

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