Ten days after a severe crash in the Vuelta a España, the Lotto Soudal rider Kris Boeckmans has made some important progress. While he remains in an induced coma, he has been taken off extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) treatment, which artificially did the work that is normally carried out by the lungs.
Boeckmans suffered facial trauma with several fractures, a concussion, three broken ribs, pneumothorax, laceration of the lung, bleeding of the lung and swollen pulmonary tissue as a result of a massive crash in the peloton on stage eight of the Vuelta.
His lung damage required the artificial respiration system to be used, but the doctors in the hospital in Murcia have now decided that this is no longer necessary.
“Since yesterday we were able to stop the ECMO treatment,” stated Lotto Soudal team doctor Servaas Bingé.
“This is a device that can replace the lungs by extracting poorly oxygenized blood from the body and injecting oxygen rich blood. In the way the lung can heal without the other body tissues restricted from oxygen. The drainage of the lungs was also removed.”
Boeckmans is still receiving ventilation support, although it is now via a tube inserted into his windpipe. Bingé said that the coming days will see doctors decide when his induced coma can be reduced. This will depend in part upon his blood levels remaining stable in terms of normal oxygen exchange.
He added that while the situation remained complicated, that there was hope that his recovery will continue to pick up.
“We still have to deal with a polytrauma patient whose injuries will take a long time to heal, but we hope to see that Kris’ condition will improve day by day.”