New blood filtration method saves Hanoi bird flu patient

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A bird flu patient from Hanoi was discharged after fully recovering from a severe case of the disease Friday thanks to the first ever use of hemofiltration in Vietnam.

Nguyen Thu Thuy, 25, was admitted to Bach Mai Hospital on March 10 with high fever, difficult breathing, a quick pulse and dropping blood pressure, local newswire Dan Tri reported.

Tests by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology showed that Thuy was infected with the H5N1 avian flu virus. Her condition worsened over the following days, and her lungs began to fail. She was put on a respirator and did not recover for two-and-a-half weeks.

Doctor Nguyen Gia Binh, head of the hospital's Recovery Departmnet, said Tamiflu had little effect on Thuy because she sought treatment too late.

Thuy came five days after the disease took hold, but the vaccine usually most effective after only two days.

Binh said the mother of a 3-month-old baby was particularly weak as she had just delivered the child.

Doctors then decided to filter her blood using the hemofiltration method to remove andotoxins and reduce damage to her organs. She recovered after her blood was filtered.

Binh said the method was first used in Japan and it is not widely implemented around the world as it is very expensive.

Japan's National Center for Global Health and Medicine, which has a partnership with Bach Mai, sponsored the whole process, which cost nearly VND200 million (US$10,500).

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