COVID-19 Teleconference between Taipei VGH and University Medical Center at Ho Chi Minh City

 

The COVID-19 outbreak is rapidly spreading globally. Early diversion of mild and severe disease, targeting high-risk populations, and reduction in critical mortality are therefore crucial strategies to prevent the spread. In response to the pandemic, Taiwan’s achievements in integrated communication have brought a development breakthrough to telemedicine.

Since 2018, under the “One Country, One Center” project of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taipei VGH has taken the responsibility to establish ties with Vietnam. After signing a memorandum of understanding with the University Medical Center (UMC) at Ho Chi Minh City in March 2017, Taipei VGH and UMC have conducted numerous bilateral medical conferences, healthcare personnel training, academic exchanges, and many other medical cooperation programs. A teleconference between Taipei VGH and UMC on May 19, 2020 was conducted with the goal of discussing COVID-19 severe cases in order to promote information exchange to improve clinical knowledge and skill.

At the teleconference, the Department of Chest Medicine of Taipei VGH presented an in-hospital case in her 70s diagnosed with critically ill COVID-19, complicated with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in need of veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV ECMO) support. The patient’s clinical condition improved gradually after a recruitment maneuver (RM) and treatment of hydroxychloroquine, and tocilizumab (TCZ). The patient was successfully weaned from VV ECMO and mechanical ventilation after 24 days and 34 days of support, respectively. The serial findings of lung ultrasound (LUS) were demonstrated, which were found to be more sensitive than chest X-ray and can detect lung recruitability after RM, as well as treatment response of TCZ therapy. Through such findings, intensivists are encouraged to extend their use of LUS in critically ill patients with COVID-19 and ARDS to acquire real-time information for quick treatment response, as well as to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

 The real-time and interactive nature of video technology improves the quality of transnational healthcare. Through such two-way communication, more diverse and meaningful academic discussions on healthcare can be conducted. This teleconference between Taipei VGH and UMC further strengthens the relationship between Taiwan and Vietnam in medical cooperation.