ICU with pneumothorax


My sister was admitted to the ICU 28 days ago with pneumonia and later pneumothorax. She is still on a ventilator and also ECMO machine. I am so sad that there isn't a day without tears. She is overseas and I have not seen her yet. I am afraid of seeing her in that position. Doctors are doing all that they can but her lungs aren't doing its job. Is there a timeframe for this or do we just hope for a miracle and wait.

12 Replies

  • Dear Sunshine,

    I'm very sorry to hear what you are currently going through with your sister being on ECMO in another country.

    You haven't mentioned how long she has been on ECMO and I can point you in the right direction once I know how long she has been on ECMO.

    In any case here is a link to an article which will help you

    HOW LONG can a critically ill Patient stay on ECMO?

  • It can be months the healing process takes time there isn't a definite time frame

  • Hello

    She has been on ECMO for about 2 weeks and I believe the doctors are planning to wean her off soon. My sister is only 57 years old and she is a non smoker or drinker so I am still confused on how she got so sick.

  • Two weeks on ECMO is not a very long time and if they are trying to wean her off that's a good sign.

    In general, critically ill Patients on ECMO for ARDS or lung failure can be in ICU for long periods. You may want to check out those two article for guidance and perspective of how other families and their loved ones dealt with when faced with ECMO for lung failure

    My Mum has been in ICU for three weeks now and she is on ECMO for ARDS! Will she SURVIVE?


    I hope that helps!

    Wishing you and your family all the best!

  • Keep hoping, everyone on here are walking talking miracles, they can and do happen. Do see her if you can xx

  • Hello.

    Go see her.

    My dad was admitted to icu on January 5 this year suffering double pneumonia of the worst kind: fungal.

    On January 31 he was intubation and put on ecmo straightaway. Both ventilator and ecmo were operating 100%. He even was given nor gas to try and open up his alveoli a bit.

    While on ecmo he suffered three pneumothorax and severe heart palpitations from the drugs he was given. Since he also suffers from an autoimmune desease it was to be very difficult to save him.

    We were told three times that chances of improving were small, even near unexsiting.

    That 'talk' isn't the one you want to have.

    He came off ecmo after 26 days but that decision couldn't have been more wrong. He caught a new infection and went back on ecmo for another 3 weeks. When he woke up after 3 months, he couldn't speak because of tracheostomy, he couldn't move because of all the drugs given and used to paralyse him. I am speaking the beginning of May.

    Right now he is rehabilitation and will be until at least October. His voice just recently returned, and he's working to get back his muscles and stability.

    Further more he will make a full recovery.

    I never expected he would but then again, I wouldn't accept he wouldn't either. I fought for him, crying everyday, taking tranquilizers, dealing with a family, my family whom were already calling me to arrange how to divide his money and belongings. I will never look at them nor the world the same way. I think I only want to tell you: don't give up, don't ever let doctors pushy into a decision that feels wrong. You know your sister best. Keep her best interest at heart and fight for her while she doesn't have a voice.

    Take care of yourself as well because you will have to be strong and fit for when she wakes up.



  • You couldn't have said that any better.

  • Thank you!!

  • Time is really all you have and I've learned that everyone heals differently. I'm in the same situation right now except my spouse is right here. Although you may not like seeing her in that way it's important that she knows that you are there when you do have the chance. Even though you aren't with her physically pray for her it works. My husband has been in the hospital over 2 weeks and everything seemed to be going wrong every procedure seemed to me like one experiment after another. Ecmo really helps his lung improved and his body got the much needed oxygen it needed. Everyone has been praying for him and the medical team yesterday he made a huge improvement he opened his eyes and was able to communicate. He's nowhere near healed but it's something. As long as the medical team are doing their job to get your sister better and you continue to support her emotionally it's just a matter of faith and time. The ventilator won't be able to stay in for long so she may need a trach which a lot of people feel is better because of the comfort.

    Praying for you and you family much love and empathy

  • 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻Thank you🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻 I do pray a lot and believe in miracles.

  • There is no time frame for how long someone will be on the various machines etc. but as long as they help and are hopefully doing there job it must be the right thing. Trust your instincts to help your sister and try to get to be there for her if she wakes up it will be nice to see a friendly face. We have all come out the other end at different lengths of time so don't stress if your sister takes a while just hope her dreams are nice ones. Take good care of yourself, keep a dairy for her so she'll understand later what has been happening to her thinking of you both hugs.

  • thank you !!!

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