Treatment used by actor Paulo Gustavo was barred at SUS

Treatment used by actor Paulo Gustavo was barred at SUS
Treatment used by actor Paulo Gustavo was barred at SUS

The ECMO treatment for Covid-19, which is being adopted by actor Paulo Gustavo, costs R $ 30,000 and was banned in the Unified Health System (SUS) in 2015. The information is from cardiologist Ludhmila Hajjar, who was quoted to assume the Ministry of Health.

“Many people do not have the chance to be treated in a great structure, like Paulo Gustavo, nor do they have the chance to have ECMO, a relatively expensive device,” said the doctor, yesterday, in an interview with CNN. “You can’t do ECMO on a large scale in SUS,” he said.

Ludhmila said that, in 2015, the National Commission for the Incorporation of Technologies in SUS (Conitec) barred the use of ECMO in SUS. “The cost, the effectiveness, the moment the country is going through and the economy are always considered a lot. Today, I would say that a good part of the lives that are being saved in Brazil are due to this device ”, said the specialist.

According to the doctor, all health professionals in the front line have to tell “several stories of people who had no chance of being alive today, but are at home because they had the possibility to implant ECMO”.

Ludhmila pointed out that ECMO is a technique that has been used for decades for patients with severe pneumonia and is now being adapted in the pandemic. “It has two objectives: oxygenate and eliminate carbon dioxide from the blood and generate adequate rest for the patient so that we can recover the lung”.

She stated that ECMO can be used for different periods, which can vary from 14 to 25 days. “It is the time that the organism needs to recover. When the patient has a lung inflamed by Covid, he gets hard and full of water, ”he said. She also asked the population to start following preventive measures against Covid-19.

“Unfortunately, Covid today does not choose age, sex, race, person. It spread so dangerously that all people came to be considered at risk, even for severe forms of the disease, ”he said.


The experts explain that there is no time limit for the patient to stay on the ECMO, and what determines the removal of the machine is the excess of clot in the circuit, excessive bleeding or if the lung shows that it has improved.

Find out what ECMO is and its application

Hospitalized since March 13 for treatment against Covid-19, the actor Paulo Gustavo presented a worsening of his condition and started to use Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO). That is, the oxygenation of the patient will be done by a membrane outside the body. In some patients, the lung becomes unable to absorb oxygen. Therefore, it is necessary to “replace” the organ. That’s when ECMO enters. The device acts like an artificial lung and oxygenates the blood outside the body. Although similar, mechanical ventilation is not the same as ECMO. The ventilator provides oxygen, promotes gas exchange and gives pressure to the lung to remain open. It does not replace the lung. It will favor physical therapy and lung recovery. However, support has a limit. The equipment can be used on people of all ages, from newborns to the elderly

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