All ECMO-bound COVID patients in Israel below age of 60, data shows

Israeli ECMO Association says all unvaccinated patients who were on ECMO since start of 4th wave passed away, while older people, some with underlying health conditions, survived because they were fully vaccinated

Adir Yanko|
All coronavirus patients in severe conditions in Israel who are currently connected to heart and lung by-pass machines are below the age of 60, data revealed on Monday appears to show.
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  • The Israeli ECMO Association added that all critically ill COVID patients under 60, who are currently connected to ECMO (extracorporeal life support) machines had not been vaccinated.
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    A medical team member with ECMO machine used to treat critically ill COVID patients
    (Photo: Ziv Koren)
    The data also found that all those who died after being hooked up to the machine, had not been administered the vaccines.
    ECMO has been used in especially critical cases of coronavirus since the early days of the pandemic. Approximately half of all patients put on the machine have died despite the treatment because of the severity of their symptoms.
    Some 31 unvaccinated patients have been put on ECMO since the start of the current, fourth wave of morbidity and five have since died - all below the age of 60.
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    מתחסנים בחיסון השלישי בירושלים
    מתחסנים בחיסון השלישי בירושלים
    Vaccine being prepared at center in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Six patients over the age of 60 were also attached to the machine at some point but they had received the vaccine four to six months prior to hospitalization and were able to wean themselves off ECMO.
    The chairman of the Israeli ECMO Association, Dr. Yigal Kasif, said the data proved non-vaccinated patients suffer from more severe COVID symptoms.
    "These patients in the 40 to 60 age group, who are treated with the ECMO machines - die, while older patients including some with underlying conditions who had been vaccinated – survive.
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    מחלקת טיפול נמרץ קורונה ב בית חולים הדסה עין כרם ב ירושלים
    מחלקת טיפול נמרץ קורונה ב בית חולים הדסה עין כרם ב ירושלים
    A critically ill COVID patient is treated at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem earlier this month
    (Photo: Amit Shabi)
    "Doctors treating patients on ECMO have expressed their frustration over those irrefutable numbers," he said.
    The treatment comes at the most critical stage of COVID-19, when the body's respiratory system is most impacted.
    "Vaccines protect from COVID-related death and from the need to be treated with ECMO. Anyone who had never witnessed a seriously ill virus patient on the machine cannot understand the difficulty," he said.
    "These are people who are tragically unable even to bid their families farewell in their final days," he said.
    A 48-year-old man and a 51-year-old woman – both unvaccinated - were the latest patients to be put on ECMO at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon.
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    מחלקת קורונה ב בית חולים קפלן ב רחובות
    מחלקת קורונה ב בית חולים קפלן ב רחובות
    The coronavirus ward at the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot earlier this month
    (Photo: Yariv Katz)
    "All our patients on ECMO had not been vaccinated," Dr. Arie Soroksky, head of the ICU, said.
    "The unvaccinated younger population is especially vulnerable to serious illness," he said.
    "We give them oxygen and when that fails, we put them on ventilators but when their lungs are too weak and ventilators are not enough, we treat them with ECMO. Their family members then often rush to get vaccinated," he said.
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