Medical Marvels: How ECMO Saved A Fitness Instructor's Life and Led Her To Do Her Personal Best

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Thursday, October 10, 2019
Medical Marvels: ECMO Saves a Fitness Instructor's Life
ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenator) is the type of therapy that puts oxygen into the bloodstream to pump it back into the body.

Taylor Brown is an online fitness content creator on Instagram and leads a busy and productive life in Canarsie Brooklyn. One day she woke up experiencing some nausea and shortness of breath that led her to the ER NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. A work-up revealed significantly decreased heart function and she deteriorated rapidly with dropping blood pressure and cardiac failure. She was intubated and a temporary ventricular assist device was placed to support her heart.

Still, she did not improve, and Berhane Worku, MD, Surgical Director of the Structural Valve Program at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist says it was clear she was in a critical state of cardiogenic shock. The team decided to use a therapy normally used in open heart surgery called ECMO in the hope of stabilizing Taylor. ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenator) is the type of therapy that puts oxygen into the bloodstream to pump it back into the body. With ECMO support, her heart function improved within two to three days, and ECMO therapy was no longer needed. She was temporarily on dialysis as well. Now her heart and kidney function have normalized.

NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist is one of only a few hospitals able to offer ECMO in emergency situations and without it Taylor likely would not have survived. Moreover, the team of doctors taking care of her -- Interventional Cardiologists, Cardiothoracic Surgeons and Heart Failure Cardiologists -- were able to recognize the severity of her condition and institute appropriate treatment in a timely manner saving her from suffering irreversible organ damage to her heart, brain and kidney.

Taylor is doing well and speaks of the NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist team, saying "What really stood out to me is how much they really put in -- the time and the effort," giving her a second chance at life.

WABC-TV is proud to have taken you inside NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital for a look at some extraordinary stories that we call Medical Marvels. It's WABC's Emmy-nominated digital series exclusive to abc7NY.com.

Click here for more information on Berhane Worku, MD., Surgical Dir., Structural Valve Program, at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. Click here to learn more about the cardiac program at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital.