A lung transplant of a COVID-19 patient was performed in a Viennese hospital for the first time in Europe. The condition of the 45-year-old patient is significantly improving. A press release issued today told the media that without a new lung, the woman had no chance of survival, no response to medication or plasma therapy. The patient did not have any concomitant diseases. This gave the doctors a reason to decide on a lung transplant. The patient’s life was maintained with a circulatory pump.
This is the first time such a transplant of a COVID-19 patient has been performed in Europe, the statement said. There are two known cases of such an intervention in China, but the Austrian hospital has no data on them.
A special problem for the operation has been created by the immune-suppressing drugs that are needed for transplantation, which is especially risky in highly infectious diseases.
“From our point of view, her condition is excellent, so far no major problem has arisen. The patient is gradually recovering,” said Walter Klepetko, head of the University Surgery Clinic and head of the Thoracic Surgery Clinic at Vienna’s General Hospital. is also the largest university hospital in Austria.
Eight weeks after being infected, the patient’s lungs refused to function, she could not be resuscitated, and for more than twenty days her life was maintained with an Extracorporale Membran Oxygenation pump. . After finding that the lung was impossible to recover, Dr. Klepetko’s team proceeded with a transplant.
According to Klepetko, the operation had additional complications – in patients who have spent a long time on a blood pump, the blood does not clot, much larger amounts of canned blood are needed, and it is also necessary to wash the blood several times to wash away the antibodies. .
The transport of the organ to the hospital was also a very complex logistical problem, as it was necessary to observe all precautions under COVID-19 conditions.
More than 2,000 lung transplants have already been performed at the Vienna clinic. According to Dr. Klepetko, with 100 such operations a year, it is among the hospitals with the largest transplant program in the world and ranks next to the clinics in Toronto, Cleveland and Hanover./BTA