Chennai hospital performs Asia's 1st Covid positive's lung transplant

Severely damaged lungs of a 48-year-old Coronavirus positive male patient were successfully replaced by doctors at a Chennai hospital who carried out a critical bilateral lung transplant, the private hospital said.

This is Asia's first known lung transplant on a Covid-19 positive patient and the second lung transplant in the hospital since the lockdown began, the statement claimed.

In a statement issued here the hospital said the patient from Delhi was suffering from severe lung infection with Covid-19. His lungs were severely damaged due to Covid-19-related fibrosis in one and a half month after he was infected by the virus.

According to MGH Healthcare, the patient tested positive for coronavirus on July 8, and only a small portion of the lungs was left functional.

As he became breathless and oxygen saturation came down he was put on ventilator support on June 20. His condition continued to worsen in spite of ventilator support. He was airlifted to MGM Healthcare from Ghaziabad on July 20.

"His lung condition continued to worsen in spite of maximum ventilatory supportive care, and he was put on ECMO support on July 25 for more than one month. Such patients are difficult to manage even in well-equipped ICUs (intensive care units)," MGM Healthcare said.

The doctors decided to go for the transplant, and it was performed on August 27. The transplant was led by Dr. K. R. Balakrishnan, Chairman & Director of Cardiac Sciences and Director of the Heart and Lung Transplant Programme and his team. "Post the transplant, the patient is doing fine in the transplant ICU," MGM Healthcare said.

"As the patient's both transplanted lungs were working well, we removed the ECMO support. Now his clinical condition is stable," Suresh Rao, Co-Director, Institute of Heart & Lung Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support said.

"Those select patients suffering from Covid pneumonia where all medications and mechanical ventilators fail to show positive results, an early initiation of ECMO support may be a lifesaving modality," said Apart Jindal, Clinical Director & Consultant, Lung Transplant, Interventional Pulmonology & Chest Medicine.

"Over time, progression can determine whether the patient improves spontaneously or may be offered the option of lung transplant. Lung transplant may well be the answer to many of the Covid survivors whose lungs are healing with fibrosis and making them a chronic respiratory cripple," Jindal added.

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