Extracorporeal Lung Support (ECLS) systems, which oxygenate a patient’s blood outside the body, were used to provide support to 5 influenza patients in intensive critical care units at Toronto General Hospital, according to [removed]the University Health Network[/removed].

ECLS systems are normally used at the hospital as a bridge to lung transplantation but increasingly, the hospital is using ECLS on patients where ventilators cannot support the patient whose lungs need time to rest and heal.

“ECLS is an important part of our ability to bridge patients to lung transplantation and we have a great deal of experience in its use,” said Shaf Keshavjee, MSc, FRCSC, MD, a thoracic surgeon and Surgeon in Chief at University Health Network. Keshavjee directs the ECLS Program as part of the Toronto Lung Transplant Program. “As the technology has improved over the years, we are now able to offer this life-saving therapy to the small percentage of patients with influenza that get into severe trouble with acute lung injury.”