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A 65-Year-Old Patient With Covid-19 Survived A Lung Transplant

Coui-19, Cui An, who was diagnosed with bad prognosis by doctors, has survived a lung transplant.

Mr. Cui An had started with a high fever on January 23, then was hospitalized on January 27 and was diagnosed with Covid-19 on February 7. His condition continued to deteriorate rapidly, forcing him to undergo isolation on February 17 at Wuhan Red Cross Hospital.

This method does not maintain the amount of oxygen in the blood, critical patients and is treated with techniques of blood oxygenation through the body outside the body (ECMO) - a technique using artificial systems to provide temporary support. Cardiopulmonary function from February 18.

For more than a month, his condition continued to get worse. Although tests showed that the patient was negative for the virus, complications of pulmonary fibrosis leading to respiratory failure left him on the verge of death.

On April 6, Mr. Cui was taken to the Intensive Care Unit, many times negative for nCoV, which proved that the virus no longer existed in the body. However, the virus caused patients with pulmonary fibrosis, respiratory failure and had to attach to a ventilator, treated with ECMO, and nearly deathly.

Doctors say lung transplantation is the only way to save Mr. Cui because Covid-19 has caused irreversible damage to the lungs, making it difficult for patients to breathe. The 6-hour lung transplant surgery was performed on April 20. 

The doctors received a pair of deceased donor lungs matching Mr. Cui. The lungs were taken from Yunnan province to Wuhan by air. The surgery was conducted on the same night at the People's Hospital of Wuhan University. 20 health workers participated in the operation which lasted 6 hours. Negative pressure rooms are used to limit the spread of viruses.

According to the sharing of Lin Huiqing, head of Renmin Hospital's thoracic surgery department, this is a challenging task both psychologically and physically for physicians. This is because the elderly patient, considered to be in the late stages of Covid-19, makes it extremely difficult to ensure the body is compatible and receive new organs.

According to information from the hospital, Mr. Cui is recovering well. Patients do not need to use ECMO 2 days after surgery. Mr. Cui regained consciousness on April 24, and his arms and legs could move simply. By May 4, he was able to swallow, drink, cough, speak and sit up.

However, he still had to use a ventilator because the muscles were not strong enough to support the new lung. According to the doctors, it will take a long time for the patients to fully recover.

According to expert Jiao Yahui, China National Health Committee, lung transplant is still the only solution to save patients with serious lung damage.

However, Ms. Jiao said that the doctor should only perform the transplant when the virus in the patient's body is completely eradicated. 
"Otherwise, the new lung could be infected and damaged."
 Jiao said.

In China, there were 2 other patients who also had successful lung transplants.

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