COVID-19 Survivor Saved by This Mind-Blowing, First-Ever Procedure
A remarkable operation saved one COVID-19 patient, giving hope to others suffering as well.
A young woman in her mid-20s was so suffering from the ill-effects of COVID-19 that she underwent a 10-hour double lung transplant procedure, and is now convalescing in recovery. According to a report by The New York Times, this is the first known lung transplant for a COVID-19 patient in the United States and, if her healing continues, the surgery gives great hope for more coronavirus patients in the future.
The inflammation in the 26-year-old patient's lungs had left hem "completely plastered to tissue around them, the heart, the chest wall and diaphragm," Ankit Bharat, MD, the chief of thoracic surgery and surgical director of the lung transplant program at Northwestern Medicine, told The Times. That's the primary reason why the surgery took 10 hours, much longer than most transplants.
Bharat noted that the damage to the patient's lungs was so severe that the double transplant was her only chance for survival. His team wanted "other transplant centers to know that the operation could save some desperately ill COVID-19 patients," The Times reports.
But, Bharat added, "I want to emphasize that this is not for every COVID patient. We are talking about patients who are relatively young, very functional, with minimal to no comorbid conditions, with permanent lung damage who can't get off the ventilator."
There is still much research to be done on the lasting effects of the COVID-19 contagion. As therapeutic treatments and vaccines go through trial testing for confirmed safety and efficacy, surgical treatment for the those with the most severe lung damage could be another option, providing of course this history-making patient continues to make a full recovery. She is currently on a ventilator and reportedly improving. "She's awake, she's smiling, she FaceTimed with her family," Bharat said. And for more ways COVID-19 could take a toll for years to come, check out 7 Long-Term Health Risks of Coronavirus You Need to Know.