Hennepin Healthcare recognized as part of an elite, international group of ECMO Centers of Excellence

Heart/lung bypass system used to care for critically ill COVID-19 patients

ECMO Logo-02 (003)Hennepin Healthcare’s Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Program recently received the Award for Excellence in Life Support – Platinum Level, the highest designation level given by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO). This award recognizes programs worldwide that distinguish themselves by having exceptional personnel, procedures, and systems in place to support critically ill patients with ECMO while also advancing the exciting science in this area.

Hennepin Healthcare’s ECMO program was also recognized for its excellence in training, education, collaboration, and communication supporting ELSO guidelines that contribute to a healing environment for families, patients and staff.

“ECMO is used to support the heart and or the lungs of patients until their underlying problem has resolved,” explains Hennepin Healthcare’s ECMO Medical Director Matthew Prekker, MD, MPH. “In the past months it’s been an essential intervention for critically ill COVID-19 patients who meet therapy criteria. To receive this prestigious recognition in the midst of an incredibly busy season really means a lot to our team and the entire hospital, and is a testimony to everyone’s outstanding work.”

ECMO is a treatment in which heart and lung function can be supported temporarily – outside the body – using a machine that oxygenates blood, removes carbon dioxide, and pushes oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. It’s often called a “rescue therapy” as it is usually initiated for critically ill patients when all other methods of treatment have failed. Doctors at Hennepin Healthcare can deploy this system in minutes at the patient’s bedside.

“For example, when COVID-19 patients become so ill with pneumonia that we can’t safely support them with a ventilator any longer, we consider all our options to save their life, which includes ECMO support for select patients. Patients with COVID-19 may need to be supported with ECMO for weeks at a time, but there have been a number of cases this year where our patient would have almost certainly died without ECMO,” said Dr. Prekker.

About Hennepin Healthcare’s ECMO Program
Restarted in 2015, Hennepin Healthcare’s ECMO program was designated as a Silver Level Center of Excellence in 2017 and now in July 2020 it achieved Platinum Level, which is the highest designation given by ELSO. ECMO is an essential part of Hennepin Healthcare’s Level I Trauma Center, committed to saving the lives of critically ill and injured patients. For more information, go to www.hennepinhealthcare.org/ecmo.

 

 

Hennepin Healthcare expands community testing for COVID-19

Glen Hansen lab c
Dr. Glen Hansen (left)

One of the first testing labs in the state to offer COVID-19 testing has expanded to more clinic locations and is now supporting testing in long-term care, shelter and other settings by deploying teams of paramedics and nurses to do onsite collection. This expansion is vitally important to bring testing to underrepresented populations in our community and reduce transmission and outbreaks in long-term care facilities, group homes and other types of congregate care settings.

“This information will help us identify where the virus is, how prevalent it is and where it’s going,” explains Dr. Glen Hansen, Director of Hennepin Healthcare’s Clinical Microbiology and Molecular Diagnostic Lab.

When it began testing for COVID-19 in March, Hennepin Healthcare was one of the largest laboratories at the time to offer testing for the virus. More than 200,000 tests have been secured and Hennepin Healthcare now has the capacity to test more than 1000 patients daily – helping to meet to Governor Tim Walz’ request that 20,000 daily tests to be completed in Minnesota.

Hennepin Healthcare offers testing to symptomatic patients from the community at its Viral Screening Clinic in downtown Minneapolis, as well as at its clinics in Whittier, Brooklyn Park and Richfield. Testing is also conducted on patients admitted to HCMC and the lab processes tests for several other healthcare systems, community clinics and correctional facilities.

“We’re getting rapid turnaround from our lab – literally getting results within 6-7 hours, which is crucial not only for screening asymptomatic inpatients but also for those with symptoms whose course of care is determined by this diagnosis,” said Dr. Hansen.

The lab also has capability to conduct rapid COVID-19 testing that turns around results within 67 minutes, and it’s the only hospital in the Twin Cities to offer a full respiratory panel that can rule out 16 viruses (including COVID-19).

Dr. Hansen says that the ability to simultaneous detect COVID-19 while examining other circulating respiratory viruses will become “even more important if the outbreak extends past the summer into the traditional respiratory virus season.”

The Microbiology Laboratory at Hennepin Healthcare provides a full range of services including diagnosis of bacterial, viral, mycotic, and parasitic infections, as well as extensive testing and reporting of antimicrobial susceptibility results.

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