Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Thursday, 13 August 2009 17:54 UK

Swine flu woman back from Sweden

Sharon Pentleton
Ms Pentleton was on a ventilator after suffering an extreme reaction

A pregnant Scottish woman treated in Sweden after becoming critically ill with swine flu has returned to the UK.

Sharon Pentleton, 26, was taken to a hospital in Stockholm last month after no beds were available in Britain for the procedure she needed.

The rare form of treatment involved circulating her blood outside her body and adding oxygen to it artificially.

Ms Pentleton's condition was described as "improving" before she left Sweden although she was still on a ventilator.

Ms Pentleton, from North Ayrshire, underwent a procedure known as extra corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).

This involved a machine taking over the function of her heart and lungs.

The UK has a national ECMO unit in Leicester, to which Scottish patients would normally be sent. However, all five beds in the unit were in use at the time she became ill.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "The ECMO treatment that she got in Sweden has now been completed and that treatment was successful.

"Her condition has improved sufficiently to allow her to transfer home and I'm pleased to say she was today returned to Scotland and returned to intensive care at Crosshouse Hospital in Ayrshire.

"Obviously, the fact that she remains in intensive care means that she remainsseriously ill - but her condition has improved. I'm sure everybody continues to wish her the best for a continued recovery."

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