LAHORE - Federal Parliamentary Finance Secretary Rana Afzal has said that advancement in the field of medicine and system of medical and dental education and its standard in Pakistan are at par with the West.

“Doctors are the epitome of prestige and grace in Pakistani society, an echelon which remains unmatched by all the other significant and emerging professions,” he said while addressing the inaugural session of two-day International ECMO Conference at the University of Health Sciences (UHS) on Thursday.

Rana Afzal said that UHS proved to be a premier national institute maintaining uniform standard of education and research in Pakistani medical and health institutions at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

UHS Registrar Dr Asad Zaheer said that such conferences where the best minds from all around the globe meet were a proof that Pakistan was far from isolated internationally. He said that the conference was to bring the best of cardiothoracic and vascular surgeons, pulmonologists, anesthetists and ambulance cardiac first responders for evidence-based discussions on the flow of Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) technology in Pakistan.

Deputy Director of Clinical Trials and Epidemiological Unit, Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital, UK, Prof Bashir Matata said the lives of nearly 50 to 70 per cent of patients suffering from lung failure or heart failure could be saved by ECMO lifesaving technology. He described ECMO as the peak of applications in critical care medicine, utilising the principle of cardio-pulmonary bypass.

Human physiologist and consultant pediatric cardiologist from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, Dr John Okeniyi said that ECMO could be initiated in severe pneumonia in swine flu, malaria and poisoning cases in case of lung or heart failure. Training programs must be conducted regularly for honing the knowledge of doctors, perfusionists and nurses, he said.

Cardiologist from Interteach International Clinic, Almaty, Kazakhstan, Dr Ahsan Ali gave a talk on “Non-Invasive Approach to the Heart Failure”.

The consultant cardiothoracic surgeon from Texas, USA Prof Maqsood Elahi said that ECMO has been an established technique in the field of critical care medicine for more than two decades. Its principle of working depends on removing blood from the body and artificially oxygenating real blood cells.