A Chicago woman has undergone a double lung transplant after a bot with coronavirus caused damage to the organs, the hospital announced Thursday.
The patient, a Hispanic woman in her 20s, was in a ventilator and cardiovascular system six weeks before her life-saving operation on Friday, according to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
The woman was otherwise very healthy, but doctors said her health deteriorated rapidly when she was hospitalized with the virus in late April.
“For many days, he was the sickest person in the Cowitt ICU – and probably the entire hospital,” Dr. Beth Malsin, a lung and critical care specialist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, said in a statement.
“There were many times of the day and night. Our team had to act quickly to help her with her antioxidants and support her other organs to make sure they were healthy enough to support a transplant if the opportunity arose.”
Dr Ankit Bharat, who performed the surgery, said he waited six weeks to recover from the virus before considering a transplant.
He said he was moved to the top of the to-do list, with signs that his heart, kidneys and liver had started to fail because of his condition.
Bharat said the 10-hour process was even more challenging as the virus left its lungs and almost attached to the chest wall.
“While the transplant process is very technically challenging for these patients, we want other transplant centers to know that it can be done safely, and this provides another option for survivors of sick COVID-19,” Bharat said in a statement.
The surgery was successful, but doctors say she still holds her ventilator and heart lung machine when her body heals.
“We expect he will be a complete healer,” said Dr. Rad Dominic, medical director of the hospital’s lung transplant program.
The hospital said it was one of the first to have a double lung transplant in a patient recovering from the virus. In China and Europe, there are only a few others who have received alternatives.
Doctors said she now wants to better understand why she is so sick compared to other cases of the virus.
“How did a healthy woman in her 20s get to this point? We still have much more to learn about COVID-19. Why are some cases worse than others?”
With Post Wires