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Double lung transplant performed on novel coronavirus-infected patient

By Yang Zekun | | Updated: 2020-03-01 13:04
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Medical workers in Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province, Jan 24, 2020 [Photo/Xinhua]

The first double lung transplant for a patient infected with novel coronavirus pneumonia was successfully performed in Wuxi, East China's Jiangsu province, on Saturday.

Chen Jingyu, vice president of Wuxi People's Hospital, posted the case early Sunday morning. Chen and his team successfully performed the surgery after a 5-hour procedure, according to Beijing Youth Daily.

The 59-year-old male patient has been awake since the surgery. The transplanted lungs function well in oxygenation, and his vital signs are stable.

The patient had symptoms on Jan 23 and was diagnosed with COVID-19 in Jiangsu on Jan 26. Doctors used endotracheal intubation on Feb 7 and the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) on Feb 22.

The patient later was transferred to Wuxi No 5 People's Hospital on Monday. After endotracheal intubation, ECMO and drug treatment, the patient's continuous nucleic acid test was negative, but the function of both his lungs had been seriously damaged and the condition irreversible.

The lung were donated by a non-local, brain-dead patient and transferred to Wuxi by high-speed railway in a journey that took 7 hours.

According to Chen, there are three main medical prerequisites for lung transplantation in patients with novel coronavirus pneumonia. The first is that the patient's breathing was maintained by ventilator and ECMO, and that bilateral pulmonary respiratory failure was irreversible.

Second, the nucleic acid test on the patient should repeatedly show negative results. The third is functions of the patient's other organs are basically normal, and the body can withstand lung transplantation.

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