Indian-origin doctor performs first double lung transplant on COVID-19 patient in United States
New Delhi: A double-lung transplant on COVID-19 patient has been performed by surgeons led by an Indian-origin doctor Ankit Bharat in the United States. The surgery is believed to be the first of its kind since coronavirus pandemic began in America. Dr Ankit Bharat is chief of thoracic surgery and surgical director of Northwestern`s lung transplant programme.
In her twenties, the Chicago patient was on a ventilator and heart-lung machine for almost two months before she underwent this complicated operation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The 10-hour procedure was challenging as the coronavirus had left her lungs full of holes and almost fused to the chest wall, Ankit Bharat, who performed the operation, told Washington Post.
The woman was reportedly on immunosuppressant medication for the previous condition when she contracted the lethal infection, which might have affected her lungs.
The patient had spent six weeks in the coronavirus ICU on a ventilator and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a life support machine that does the work of the heart and lungs, the hospital stated.
By early June, her lungs showed irreversible damage and the lung transplant team listed her for a double-lung transplant, and 48 hours later, performed the life-saving procedure a the hospital.
“A lung transplant was her only chance for survival,” Ankit Bharat is quoted as saying. “We are one of the first health systems to successfully perform a lung transplant on a patient recovering from Covid-19. We want other transplant centers to know that while the transplant procedure in these patients is quite technically challenging, it can be done safely, and it offers the terminally ill Covid-19 patients another option for survival,” he added.
Dr Ankit was further quoted as saying, “Due to the ability of Northwestern Medicine’s programme to support patients with life-threatening lung failure for extended durations, the patient could get adequate time to clear the virus from her body, allowing the consideration of transplantation.”
The Meerut-born Bharat said, “This was truly one of the most challenging cases,” adding “This is one of the toughest transplants I’ve done.”
According to Bharat, the organ transplantation may become more frequent for COVID-19 patients who are at a critical stage as the virus most commonly attacks the respiratory system. It can also inflict damage on kidneys, hearts, blood vessels and the neurological system.
However, this kind of surgery amid the coronavirus is not the first of its kind globally.
Earlier on May 26, surgeons in Austria performed the world’s first known lung transplant to save the life of a Covid-19 survivor. The 45-year-old woman was reportedly stricken with a severe form of the disease. Similarly, China did a double lung transplant on February 29.