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First COVID-19 survivor receives double lung transplant in US

ANI | Updated: Jun 12, 2020 10:35 IST

Washington [US], June 12 (ANI: A former COVID-19 patient who is in her 20s has become the first person in the United States (US) to undergo a double-lung transplant surgery since the pandemic began.
The woman was on immunosuppressant medication for the previous condition when she contracted the lethal infection, which might have affected her lungs, informed Ankit Bharat, chief of thoracic surgery and surgical director of Northwestern's lung transplant programme to Washington Post.
She developed secondary bacterial infections that could not be controlled by antibiotics because her lungs were so badly affected, he said while adding that the doctors repeatedly tested fluid from her lungs to be certain she was negative for the coronavirus before operating but by that time, she got more sicker, the US daily reported.

According to Bharat, the organ transplantation may become more frequent for COVID-19 patients who are at a critical stage as the virus most commonly attacks the respiratory system. It can also inflict damage on kidneys, hearts, blood vessels and the neurological system.
However, this kind of surgery amid the coronavirus is not the first of its kind globally. In Austria on May 26, lung transplant was performed on a 45-year-old woman who was also a COVID-19 survivor. Similarly, China did a double lung transplant on February 29.
"I certainly expect some of these patients will have such severe lung injury that they will not be able to carry on without transplant. This could serve as a lifesaving intervention," said the chief of thoracic surgery.
For many years, the US has suffered a severe shortage of transplant organs with more than 100,000 people on waiting lists for kidneys, livers, lungs, hearts and other organs. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) data, the number of transplants dipped even more during the worst weeks of the pandemic in March.
However, in recent weeks the number of transplants has even crossed the 2019's statistics. (ANI)